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Treatments for stage IV cervical cancer
The following are treatment options for stage IV cervical cancer. Your healthcare team will suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop a treatment plan. You may be offered one or more of the following treatments.
You may be offered chemoradiation to treat stage IV cervical cancer. This treatment combines chemotherapy with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is given during the same time period as radiation therapy. The radiation used in chemoradiation can be external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy or both. The same drugs used in chemotherapy may be used during chemoradiation.
You may be offered radiation therapy for stage IV cervical cancer. Radiation therapy may be external beam radiation, brachytherapy or both. Radiation therapy may be used to relieve pain, stop bleeding or control other symptoms of advanced cervical cancer (called palliative therapy).
Chemotherapy may be offered for stage IV cervical cancer to relieve pain or control the symptoms of advanced cervical cancer (called palliative chemotherapy). The types of chemotherapy drugs used to treat stage IV cervical cancer include:
- cisplatin (Platinol AQ)
- ifosfamide (Ifex)
- irinotecan (Camptosar)
- gemcitabine (Gemzar)
- 5-fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU)
- mitomycin (Mutamycin)
- topotecan (Hycamtin)
- pemetrexed (Alimta)
- vinorelbine (Navelbine)
- epirubicin (Pharmorubicin)
The most common chemotherapy combinations used for stage IV cervical cancer are:
- cisplatin and paclitaxel
- cisplatin and ifosfamide, with or without bleomycin (Blenoxane)
- cisplatin and gemcitabine
- cisplatin and topotecan
- carboplatin (Paraplatin, Paraplatin AQ) and paclitaxel
- cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil
- carboplatin and docetaxel
- cisplatin and vinorelbine
You may be offered targeted therapy for stage IVB cervical cancer. Chemotherapy is given at the same time as targeted therapy. If targeted therapy is given, you will likely receive bevacizumab (Avastin) with cisplatin or carboplatin and paclitaxel.
Some women may have surgery to check lymph nodes at the back of the abdomen (called the para-aortic lymph nodes) for cancer. This surgery may be done before chemoradiation or radiation therapy to help doctors plan what parts of the body will get radiation therapy.
You may be asked if you want to join a clinical trial for cervical cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.
Clinical trial discovery improves quality of life
A clinical trial led by the Society’s NCIC Clinical Trials group found that men with prostate cancer who are treated with intermittent courses of hormone therapy live as long as those receiving continuous therapy.