Small cell cervical cancer

Last Modified: December 8, 2002

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I was diagnosed with small cell cervical cancer. I underwent chemotherapy, a radical hysterectomy, and radiation. I have CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis every three months - is this enough? What is the chance of recurrence with small cell cervical cancer if the patient has had a hysterectomy? 

Answer

Stephen C. Rubin, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

Small cell cancer of the cervix is an unusual and aggressive tumor. Although the optimal treatment has not been clearly defined due to the small number of women developing this cancer, most gynecologic oncologists recommend multimodality therapy. If the tumor is an early stage, as yours apparently was, treatment would typically include a combination of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Follow-up evaluation after treatment would include not only frequent physical examination and Pap smears, but periodic scans. With early tumors, the chance of cure can be good.