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Living with cervical cancer

Life after treatment

How cervical cancer affects your daily life will depend very much on what stage your disease is at. It will also depend on the treatment you’re having and as a result you may require a lot of patience.

Many women with cervical cancer have a radical hysterectomy. This is a major operation, and it takes around six to twelve weeks to recover from it. During this time you need to avoid lifting (for example, children, heavy shopping bags) and heavy housework. You won't be able to drive from three to eight weeks after the operation. Most women will need eight to twelve weeks off work after a radical hysterectomy.

Some of the treatments for cervical cancer, particularly chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can make you very tired. You may need to take a break from some of your normal activities for a while. Don't be afraid to ask for practical help from family and friends if you need it.

Practical help may be available from your local authority. Ask your doctor or nurse about who to contact.

Contraception during treatment

If you have not had a hysterectomy, are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy and you are premenopausal, you should use contraception (birth control) to avoid getting pregnant during treatment, because these treatments can harm the unborn baby. Although chemotherapy and radiotherapy reduce fertility, it is still possible for some women to become pregnant while having treatment. Should you become pregnant, talk to your doctor urgently. Your doctor may suggest you wait two years after chemotherapy before becoming pregnant.

More information

Read more about how to managing physical changes, emotional changes and practical challenges during cervical cancer.

Sources: Cancer Australia (Living with cervical cancer), NHS Choices, UK (Cervical cancer)

Last reviewed: October 2015

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