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Chemotherapy uses anticancer, or cytotoxic, drugs to destroy cancer cells. It is sometimes used to treat cervical cancer. Your healthcare team will consider your personal needs to plan the drugs, doses and schedules of chemotherapy. You may also receive other treatments.
Chemotherapy is given for different reasons. You may have chemotherapy:
Chemotherapy is usually a systemic therapy. This means that the drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach and destroy cancer cells all over the body, including those that may have broken away from the primary tumour in the cervix.
The most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat cervical cancer are:
The most common chemotherapy combinations used to treat cervical cancer are:
Radiation therapy is sometimes given during the same time period as chemotherapy for cervical cancer. This is called chemoradiation.
Cisplatin (Platinol AQ) is the most common type of chemotherapy drug used in chemoradiation for cervical cancer. It is given with external beam radiation therapy. Cisplatin may act as a radiosensitizer, which means it allows the radiation to work better. Chemotherapy is usually given once a week while a woman has radiation therapy.
Details on specific drugs change quite regularly. Find out more about sources of drug information and where to get details on specific drugs.
Volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society opened my eyes to just how much work they do for people fighting cancer.
The Canadian Cancer Society is actively lobbying the federal government to establish a national caregivers strategy to ensure there is more financial support for this important group of people.