Cervical Cancer Survivors Frequently Suffer From Long-Term Side Effects of Treatment
According to a new study around half of women who have been treated for locally advanced cervical cancer suffer from symptoms of insomnia, fatigue or hot flushes.1
Cervical cancer affects more than 500,000 women around the world each year with an average age at diagnosis of 50. Each year in the United States, more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 4,000 die of the disease.2 With advances in treatment women are living longer raising questions about long term side effects of treatment. Side effects can have a substantial impact on patients’ quality of life and they need to be better identified and managed.
The study current study evaluated 1,176 women with locally advanced cervical cancer, treated around the world between 2008 and 2015. All received standard treatment with combined chemotherapy radiotherapy. Patients were followed for an average of 27 months after treatment and assessed for symptoms by their doctors and themselves.
Overall the study found that 64% of women were experiencing fatigue, 43% were experiencing insomnia, and 50% were experiencing hot flashes mainly in the mild to moderate range. Severe symptoms were reported in 2% to 4%. Younger women were more likely to experience these symptoms.
There are increasing management options for these symptoms and in order to ensure the best care patients should understand the presence of these and other symptoms before beginning treatment and monitor carefully throughout treatment and beyond.
- The research is part of a larger study on MRI guided brachytherapy in locally advanced cervical cancer called EMBRACE (https://www.embracestudy.dk/).
- According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there were 527,624 new cases of cervical cancer in 2012 and 265,672 deaths worldwide. For Europe, the figures are 58,373 and 24,404.
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