For women with cervical cancer, the cancer may return after initial treatment. This is known as a recurrence. The cancer can recur anywhere in the body, including the pelvis or abdominal cavity, or areas distant to pelvis, such as the lungs, liver, or bone. Symptoms of a recurrence can include vaginal bleeding, pelvic or abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, or changes in bowel or bladder habits. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important that you communicate this to your gynecologic oncology team.
The treatment of recurrent cervical cancer depends mainly on previous treatment and on the site and extent of recurrence. Similar to the initial treatment of cervical cancer, treatment for recurrent cervical cancer can include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. The treatment for recurrent cervical cancer is highly individualized.
Many women with cervical cancer participate in clinical trials. The benefit of a clinical trial is that it allows women to have access to new and promising drugs that would not otherwise be available. Additionally, many clinical trials rely on drugs targeted to unique genetic abnormalities within a given women’s tumor. Evaluation of these specific abnormalities that can be targeted, and matching patients with new drugs that are designed to attack these specific abnormalities is the goal of our Center for Personalized Medicine in Gynecologic Oncology.