There are no products in your shopping cart.
If you have questions or need to talk, call our helpline for information or support.
Have a question? Receive a confidential response from a medical professional.
Come to a support event to meet other people who have had a cervical cancer diagnosis.
Any treatment for cervical cancer can feel scary or overwhelming. You can start to feel more in control by preparing for the practical, physical and emotional side of treatment.
We hope the information on this page helps, but know you might need some extra support. We are here to give you that – whether it’s through a phone call, email or connecting with others.
On this page:
You may need to take time off from work or get support with childcare and other commitments after treatment. Knowing how long it may take to recover can help you plan this in advance. Check our treatment page to find out about recovery times.
If you have to take time off work or from other commitments, as well as avoiding certain activities during your recovery, you may need some extra support.
You may need to take time off work before, during or after treatment to cope with the physical effects as well as the emotional impact. You might be worried about what this will mean for your job or future.
At the moment, managing work may seem easier as a lot of people are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But you will still need a break, even if you don’t have to physically travel anywhere.
Cervical cancer is considered a disability under the law. This means you have legal rights at work – you cannot be treated differently to people who do not have cancer. You also have a right to ask for reasonable adjustments at work. These are things that make it easier for you to continue working or come back to work.
It’s a good idea to have a conversation with your human resources (HR) department at work and read through any policies.
Being diagnosed with cervical cancer means you have a right to financial support. This could include benefits and grants to help support your day-to-day life, for example with bills or transport to the hospital. Make sure you get any financial support you’re entitled to – it helps to apply as early as possible.
While you are having and recovering from treatment, you may need some extra help at home. This might be support with childcare, other caring commitments, or practical things such as cooking and cleaning.
Here are our suggestions for things you can do ahead of time:
You will be travelling to and from hospital for treatment, which can be expensive. You may be able to get help with the cost of going to hospital for treatment. It is a good idea to check whether the hospital has any schemes you could use.
After some treatments, such as a hysterectomy, you may not be able to drive for a few weeks while your wound heals. If you need to travel anywhere, you may want to check if friends and family can help you. You may also be eligible for community transport services in your area. It is worth checking if you can get free or discounted travel fares, as cancer is considered a disability.
You may feel a whole mixture of emotions about having treatment, from relief that it’s happening through to worry or upset about how it might impact you. It may help to know that you aren’t alone in this – it’s common to go through this range of emotions.
This goes for every diagnosis and type of treatment. You may feel like a very early stage diagnosis or more minor treatment doesn’t count, when it does. A cervical cancer diagnosis is a cervical cancer diagnosis, and you are entitled to support for that.
Once you have been introduced to your healthcare team, remember to use them when you need them. You should have a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) who is available to answer your questions as well as providing emotional support.
It can sometimes help to talk to someone you don’t know who can work through any worries with you. You can ask your GP to be referred to a counsellor, check if the hospital can offer you a counselling service, or find your own – although this may be for a cost.
Depending on the treatment you are having, you may have to stay in hospital for a few days or longer. You might want to pack a bag in advance. It can help to have everything you need to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible:
At the moment, you may not be able to have visitors because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know this can be difficult, so it may help to prepare to keep in touch:
Sometimes you need to speak with someone who has already had treatment. Although everyone’s experience is different, they can give you some idea of what to expect and share any helpful tips they picked up along the way.
We have a wonderful community in our online Forum. They support each other through different stages of cervical cancer and could support you too. You don’t have to post anything if you don’t feel comfortable – reading through other people’s message might be enough.
Before treatment, you may be so focused on what’s to come and getting through it that you forget to process where you currently are in an emotional sense. Or you may feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start. Either way, it is important to mentally take a step back and try to figure out what you need at this time.
We have lots of information, blogs and tips to support your mental health:
It can help to make sure you are as fit and healthy as possible before you have surgery. This might seem strange, especially when you have had a cancer diagnosis, but research shows that being in good health before your surgery means you may have a better recovery.
Stopping smoking may be easier said than done, especially if it is a tool to cope with stress – which you will probably be feeling a lot of at the moment. However, smoking can:
If you want to stop smoking, there is support available. The NHS has free services across the UK:
You could also speak to your GP to get some more suggestions.
Being active may be the last thing on your mind, or you may not feel well enough to do much exercise. Just getting moving in some way can help. You could start with short walks, stretching or a gentle yoga session and build up from there.
The NHS have an online Fitness Studio with free videos. You may want to use it to practice exercises in your home, especially if the COVID-19 pandemic means you can’t get out as much at the moment.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you feel good as well as improving your overall health. If you decide to change your diet, it’s a good idea to speak with your GP or healthcare team first. They can advise what to eat based on your current diagnosis, upcoming treatment and medical history.
Feeling stressed can slow down how quickly your body can heal. Before surgery, it might help to try and lower your current stress levels as much as possible. You can also think about what helps you feel relaxed, so you can prepare to have those things, activities or people around when you need them.
We know reducing stress is not easy when you have a cervical cancer diagnosis and are waiting for treatment. If you need some extra support, we’re here to talk through what might help and listen to what’s going on for you – sometimes getting it all out can help.
A cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment can have a big impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing. Preparing for treatment can help you feel in control, as well as support your recovery. Remember that you can ask your healthcare team as many questions as you need to before treatment – you don’t have to wait.
We are here for you too. Our trained volunteers can listen, talk through your options and offer suggestions for how to prepare via our free Helpline on 0808 802 8000.
Sometimes connecting with others who have gone through a similar experience can be helpful. Our online Forum lets our community give and get support. You can read through the messages or post your own – whichever feels most comfortable.
If you have general questions about treatment, our panel of medical experts may be able to help. They can’t give you answers about your individual situation or health – it’s best to speak with your GP or healthcare team for that.
Thank you to all the experts who checked the accuracy of this information, and the volunteers who shared their personal experience to help us develop it.
We write our information based on literature searches and expert review. For more information about the references we used, please contact [email protected]