Coping with Cervical Cancer
When you first learn that you have cervical cancer, it is normal to feel a mix of emotions. You may wonder how you will cope with the upcoming changes in your life. One step you can take is to be informed of the changes that may occur and what resources are available to help you cope. Doing so can give you a greater sense of control.
Resources on the common physical side effects of treatment for cervical cancer are provided in the Cervical Cancer Treatment section. Learn more about side effects caused by cancer treatment and ways to manage them.
Because cervical cancer tends to occur in people of reproductive age, and because of where it forms in the body, certain aspects of your diagnosis and treatment are of special concern.
For some people, infertility can be one of the most difficult and upsetting long-term effects of cervical cancer treatment. Although it might feel overwhelming to think about, you may benefit from talking with you doctor about how treatment may affect your fertility and about options to preserve fertility. If you choose to take steps to preserve your fertility, your doctor and a fertility specialist will work together to develop a treatment plan that includes fertility preservation, whenever possible.
Learn more about which cancer treatments may affect fertility and about fertility-sparing treatment options in Fertility Issues in Girls and Women with Cancer.
Some treatments for cervical cancer can cause short-term or long-term problems with sex after treatment. Sexual problems are often caused by changes to your body. These changes result from chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or certain medicines.
Learn more about the sexual problems some cancer treatments can cause and ways to cope and share your concerns with your health care team in Sexual Health Issues in Women with Cancer.
Cervical cancer and its treatment can change how you look and feel about yourself. Know you aren't alone in how you feel. Coping with these changes can be hard. But, over time, most people learn to adjust to them and move forward.
Learn more about how body changes may affect your self-image and sex life after treatment and ways to cope and communicate your feelings in Self-Image and Sexuality.
Stigma and guilt
Because cervical cancer results from a sexually transmitted infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), you may worry that some people assume your behavior caused your cancer. Or you may blame yourself for lifestyle choices you think could have led to your cancer. It is important to remember almost everyone will have an HPV infection at some point in their lives and that most HPV infections of the cervix will not cause cervical cancer. Having cervical cancer is not your fault. It may help you to share your feelings with someone. Let your doctor know if you would like to talk with a counselor or go to a support group.
Cancer is one of the most costly diseases to treat in the United States. You may face major financial challenges and need help dealing with the costs of cervical cancer treatment, even if you have insurance. The problems a person has related to the cost of treatment is known as financial toxicity. Find out if you are at risk and learn about ways to cope in Financial Toxicity (Financial Distress) and Cancer Treatment and Managing Costs and Medical Information.