Summary: For many women, finishing up your cervical cancer treatment can feel extremely relieving and stressful. Your treatment may have destroyed or removed the cancer, but you might be facing the very common worry that it will once again return, possible worse than before. For others, the cancer may never completely go away and these women will need to have treatments with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other therapies to help keep their cancer from growing, spreading or metastasizing through the body. Learning to live with cancer can be very difficult and stressful, but there is always a life after cervical cancer.
For many women, finishing up your cervical cancer treatment can feel extremely relieving and stressful. Your treatment may have destroyed or removed the cancer, but you might be facing the very common worry that it will once again return, possible worse than before. For others, the cancer may never completely go away and these women will need to have treatments with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other therapies to help keep their cancer from growing, spreading or metastasizing through the body. Learning to live with cancer can be very difficult and stressful, but there is always a life after cervical cancer.
Continued Doctor Visits & Imaging Tests
While your cancer may be in remission, or completely gone, your doctor will recommend that you have a physical exam every three to six months for the first few years after your treatment, then every six months thereafter. Those who caught their cervical cancer in the early stages may not need as many doctor visits or check-ups.
Doctors do recommend that women who have been treated for cervical cancer continue to get regular Pap smear tests no matter which type of treatment they have. Cells for the Pap smear test are normally from the cervix, but if you no longer have a cervix due to a trachelectomy or hysterectomy, the cells will be taken from the upper part of the vagina.
Further imaging tests prescribed by your doctor will depend on the stage of your cancer and many other factors. CT scans may be done if you have symptoms that arise once more, or there are other signs that your cancer may be coming back. Many doctors suggest that their patients follow the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for early detection of cancer, much like those for breast, lung, and colorectal cancer.
Maintaining Health Insurance & Filing your Medical Records for Keeping
When your treatment is over, do not cancel or change your medical coverage. It is important to keep it, without changes, through the first few years after your treatment ends. The testing and appointments that will follow after your treatment ends can be as costly as the treatment itself, and if your cancer does come back, it will be easier to deal with the insurance company when all aspects remain the same.
Keeping copies of all of your medical records pertaining to your cancer and treatment is also very important. Many times, patients are forced to change doctors due to insurance, treatment availability, or because their doctor has retired or moved. By filing your records, this ensures that you will have them to take to your new doctor when that time comes, and there will be no question about how you were treated and the details on your cancer.
Lowering your Overall Risk of Cervical Cancer Returning
If you have battled against cervical cancer and won, you know there are certain things you can do to lower your risk of re-developing this cancer. Exercising, eating the rainbow of foods, and taking nutritional supplements are just a few of the simple ways you can help your body to help itself. Smoking remains a direct link to the development of many bodily cancers, it is very helpful to give up this toxic habit. Quitting or not smoking at all also helps your body to handle your medical treatment better because your body and cells are stronger and can better fight the chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
By choosing to adopt healthier lifestyle habits, getting physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight, you may be able to lower your risk of return. That said, these things have not been completely proven to lower the risk, and many women find themselves facing down the likes of cancer once more.
While no dietary supplement has ever proven to clearly help lower the risk of cervical cancer, or it’s return, these supplements can help your body stay strong through treatment under the direction of a doctor. In no way does this mean that supplements will not help you, but it is important to be realistic and honest about any supplement you plan to take.
These supplements are not regulated like prescription medication in the United States, and they do not even have to be proven effective or safe before being sold in stores and pharmacies. These supplements companies do have limits on what they can claim each supplement does and can do. Before you begin taking any supplement, be sure to check with your medical care team so they can help you decide which supplements and brands are best. Some supplements can interfere with prescribed medications.