Surgery for cervical cancer

For some women, surgery may be the only treatment needed. Surgery is usually recommended for women who have a tumour that is in the cervix only. The type of surgery you have will depend on how far within the cervix the cancer has spread. Your surgeon will talk to you about the most appropriate surgery for you, as well as the risks and any possible complications (in both the short and long term).

The main type of surgery is called a hysterectomy, which is done under general anaesthetic. A hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus (womb) and cervix. The surgeon may also remove other organs of the reproductive system or the lymph glands on the side wall of the pelvis.

Learn more about:


Types of surgery

Depending on how far the cancer has spread and your age, you may have one or more of the procedures listed below.

cone biopsy

Cone biopsy

Removes a cone of tissue around the cancer, including a margin of healthy tissue. This is used to treat very early cervical cancers, particularly for young women who would like to have children. Learn more about the procedure.

trachelectomy

Trachelectomy

Removes part or all of the cervix, along with the upper part of the vagina. The uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries are left in place. This is not a common procedure, but it may be used in young women with early-stage cancer who would like to have children.

Total hysterectomy

Total hysterectomy

Removes the uterus and cervix. Can be suitable for early cervical cancers. The fallopian tubes are also commonly removed (see Bilateral salpingectomy). Some premenopausal women are able to keep their ovaries.

radical hysterectomy

Radical hysterectomy

Removes the uterus, cervix, and soft tissue around the cervix and top of the vagina. This is the standard operation for most cervical cancers treated with surgery. The fallopian tubes are also commonly removed. Some premenopausal women are able to keep their ovaries.

Bilateral salpingectomy

Bilateral salpingectomy

Removes both fallopian tubes. This is commonly recommended for women having a hysterectomy performed through the abdomen (open surgery). Your doctor will talk to you about the risks and benefits of removing the fallopian tubes.

Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy

Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy

Removes both fallopian tubes and ovaries. This is considered when your doctor is concerned that the cancer may have spread to the ovaries, or for women approaching the menopause or of menopausal age.


How the surgery is done

The surgery will be performed under a general anaesthetic. The hysterectomy can be done in two different ways.

Open surgery (laparotomy)

The surgery is performed through the abdomen. A cut is usually made from the pubic area to the bellybutton. Sometimes the cut is made along the pubic line instead. The uterus and other organs are then removed. Research has shown that open surgery is the better option for most cervical cancers.

Keyhole surgery (laparoscopy or robotic surgery)

These methods use thin cameras and instruments that are inserted through small cuts into the abdomen. The uterus and other organs are removed through the vagina. Laparoscopic surgery may be used for small, early-stage tumours.


Treatment of lymph nodes

Cancer cells can spread from the cervix to the lymph nodes in the pelvis. You may have one of the following procedures:

Sentinel lymph node biopsy

This test helps to identify the lymph node that the cancer is most likely to spread to first (the sentinel lymph node). While you are under anaesthetic, your doctor will inject a dye into the cervix. The dye will flow to the sentinel lymph node, and the surgeon will remove it for testing. If it contains cancer cells, the remaining nodes in the area may be removed in a procedure called a lymphadenectomy. Alternatively, your doctors may decide you need other treatments such as chemoradiation. A sentinel lymph node biopsy can help the doctor avoid removing more lymph nodes than necessary and minimise side effects such as lymphoedema. This procedure may be used for some women with early cervical cancer and is only available in some treatment centres. Research into its role in treating cervical cancer is ongoing.

Lymphadenectomy (lymph node dissection)

The surgeon will remove an area of lymph nodes from the pelvic and/or abdominal areas to see if the cancer has spread beyond the cervix. If cancer is found in the lymph nodes, your doctor may recommend you have additional treatment, such as radiation therapy.


Video: What is surgery?

If you have cancer, a surgeon may play a big role in your treatment. Learn more in this short video.


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on surgery


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in September 2019
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Need legal and financial assistance?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer information

Surgery
Surgery is a medical treatment performed by a surgeon or a surgical oncologist to remove cancer from the body or repair a part of the body affected by cancer

Recovery after surgery
What to expect in the hospital recovery room and ward

Caring for someone having surgery
Tips for the support person and visitors

TOP BACK TO TOP