Treatment for cervical cancer

There are many different types of treatment for cervical cancer. Your treatment will depend on you and your cancer.

The most common treatment for cervical cancer is surgery and/or a combination of chemotherapy with radiation therapy. When cervical cancer has spread beyond the cervix, targeted therapy may also be used.4

Your doctors will recommend treatment based on:

  • the results of your tests
  • the location of the cancer and whether it has spread
  • your age and general health

Types of treatment


Surgery is usually recommended for women who have a tumour that is confined to the cervix. The type of surgery you have will depend on how far within the cervix the cancer has spread.4

The main type of surgery is called a hysterectomy, an operation to remove the uterus (womb) and sometimes other organs of the reproductive system. A hysterectomy may also involve removing both ovaries and fallopian tubes (salpingo-oophorectomy) and some pelvic lymph nodes.4

Radiation therapy

Most women who have radiation therapy for cervical cancer will have both external and internal radiation therapy.4

  • External beam radiation therapy – External beam radiation therapy is a type of radiation therapy that uses one or more beams to deliver high energy x-rays to a cancerous tumour.
  • Internal radiation therapy – Internal radiotherapy is known as brachytherapy. Brachytherapy is a special form of internal radiation therapy where a radioactive source is placed beside or inside the tumour, to deliver radiation to small areas over a period of time. For cervical cancer a radiation source is placed inside the body next to the cancer in the cervix. This reduces the effect radiation has on nearby organs such as the bowel and bladder.4


Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells. The kind of medicines given, and how often they are needed, will depend on the type of cervical cancer you have, how it responds to treatment, and how your body responds and copes with treatment. Often low dose weekly chemotherapy is provided in conjunction with radiation therapy to enhance tumour shrinkage and cure rates of localised cervical cancer.


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. Cancer Council (2019). Understanding Cervical Cancer: A guide for people with cancer, their families and friends. Retrieved on 01 October 2019 from
  2. Cancer Council (2019). Cervical Cancer. Retrieved on 01 October 2019 from
  3. Australian Government, Cancer Australia (2019). What are the risk factors for cervical cancer? Retrieved on 01 October 2019 from
  4. Cancer Council Victoria (2019). Cervical Cancer; Treatment of cervical cancer. Retrieved on 01 October 2019 from
  5. American Cancer Society (2019). Cervical Cancer Stages. Retrieved on 03 October 2019 from

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