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For a year after treatment for cervical cancer has ended, women usually see their doctors at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center every three to four months to ensure the cancer has not returned. After that, appointments are usually scheduled every four to six months. Follow-up care may include Pap tests and pelvic exams, as well as imaging tests, such as CT, MRI, or PET scans.
Specialists at NYU Langone develop a plan that includes good nutrition and exercise as you recover from surgery, chemotherapy, and other treatments. Also, doctors at NYU Langone’s Fertility Center and NYU Langone Reproductive Specialists of New York assist women during and after treatment with any fertility concerns they may have.
Mobility After Surgery
Immediately after cervical cancer surgery, under the guidance of specialists at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation, physical therapists help you with mobility, so that you can return home as soon as possible. They help you get out of the hospital bed and encourage you to move around. Our doctors prescribe medications for any postoperative pain and discomfort that affect your mobility.
Neuropathy is a potential side effect of chemotherapy. The condition leads to nerve damage that can cause numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness, often in the hands, feet, arms, and legs, though it can also occur in other parts of the body.
Doctors at Rusk Rehabilitation prescribe medication to help ease the discomfort caused by neuropathy, and physical therapy to prevent it from interfering with your balance and strength.
Surgery for cervical cancer that includes the removal of lymph nodes in the pelvis may damage the lymph vessels—tubes that carry lymph fluid throughout the body, helping to fight infection. This damage can cause lymph fluid to build up, a condition called lymphedema, which can lead to swelling and discomfort in the legs.
Doctors and physical therapists at Rusk Rehabilitation can show you how to prevent the development of lymphedema after surgery—for example, by wearing special wraps around your legs. They can also ensure you’re aware of the early warning signs of the condition, such as aching, tingling, or a feeling of fullness in the groin, legs, or feet. The sooner management starts, the less likely lymphedema is to develop.
Nutrition and Exercise
Our doctors encourage healthful eating as a part of cervical cancer follow-up care. Oncology dietitians at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center can counsel you on nutrition.
After consultation with our doctors at Rusk Rehabilitation, physical therapists can provide a rehabilitation program of strength and aerobic exercise to address weakness and fatigue caused by cervical cancer or treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Our exercise program also aids in improving your balance, flexibility, and mobility, which may be affected by cancer surgery.
The use of integrative therapies—conventional and nonconventional techniques known to be safe and effective—can often help women with cervical cancer feel better during and after treatment. At Perlmutter Cancer Center, our integrative health services include massage therapy, which can help reduce stress, and acupuncture, which may relieve chemotherapy-related hot flashes and radiation-related fatigue.
Psychological and Social Work Support
Support groups and one-on-one counseling sessions with a psycho-oncologist—a healthcare provider who is trained to address the psychological needs of people with cancer—are available at Perlmutter Cancer Center. Counseling can often ease anxiety and depression and address concerns about fertility that have arisen during treatment. Social workers are also available to help you handle financial matters associated with treatment or recovery.
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