Chemoradiotherapy

If you have chemoradiotherapyTreatment of cancer with both chemotherapy and radiation therapy., you are given chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. treatment at the same time as your radiotherapy.

At one time, cervical cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. was mostly treated either with surgery or radiotherapy. But a number of recent studies have demonstrated that giving chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer. at the same time as radiotherapy makes the radiotherapy more effective.

Chemoradiotherapy is now considered the best treatment for advanced cervical cancers.

Side-effects

The side-effects of chemoradiotherapyTreatment of cancer with both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. are the same as if you had the two treatments separately, but effects on white bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. cells (large colourless cells that play an important part in your body's defences against infectionInvasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites.) and platelets Structures in the blood that help the blood to clot.(small disc-shaped particles in the bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. that clump together to help bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. clotting) can be more severe than with either treatment alone.

Because of this you may get:

  • More frequent infections - caused by a lack of white bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. cells
  • Bleeding or bruising easily - caused by a lack of platelets.

I was told I would have to have radiotherapy and chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer.. I had five weeks of chemotherapyThe use of chemical substances to treat disease, particularly cancer., and 28 sessions of radiotherapy. Fiona