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Discharge Instructions for Cervical Cancer

Discharge Instructions for Cervical Cancer

You have had a procedure to treat cervical cancer. There are many ways to treat cervical cancer. Some are simple while others are quite involved. Your recovery will vary depending on many things. This includes the size (stage) of the cancer, the procedure done, your age, and your overall health. Be sure to follow any instructions you get from your healthcare provider.

Make sure you:

  • Understand what you can and can't do

  • Keep your follow-up appointments

  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any questions or are worried about any symptoms

Activity

You may have to limit some activities for a while. You may need extra rest throughout the day. But, try to get up and move around often. Ask family members or friends to help with shopping, meals, housework, and other tasks.

Here’s what to do at home after treatment for cervical cancer:

  • Take your medicines exactly as directed. Use your pain medicine as needed so you can be up and moving around. Don't stay in bed.

  • Don’t drive until you are no longer taking pain medicine. This may take 2 to 4 weeks.

  • Plan rest breaks to avoid shortness of breath.

  • Do the coughing and deep breathing exercises you learned in the hospital.

  • Increase your activity slowly. Start with short walks on a level surface.

  • Don’t over-do it. If you get tired, rest.

  • Limit stair climbing to once or twice a day. Go slow and stop to rest every few steps.

  • If you ride in the car for more than short trips, stop often to stretch your legs. Don’t drive until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.

  • Ask your healthcare provider when you can expect to return to work and your regular daily activities.

Other home care

To help with your recovery and avoid problems: 

  • Take only those medicines prescribed by your healthcare provider. Don't take over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, or herbs unless your provider says it's OK.

  • Check your temperature every day for a week after your surgery.

  • Take pain medicine exactly as directed.

  • Continue the coughing and deep-breathing exercises that you learned in the hospital.

  • Some procedures have cuts in the skin (incisions) and some don’t. Talk with your healthcare provider or nurse about taking care of any incisions and managing bandages.

  • Shower as needed. Ask a friend or family member to stay close by in case you need help.

  • Don’t put anything in your vagina. This includes tampons or douches. Don't have sex until your provider says it's OK.

  • Try to prevent constipation:

    • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

    • Drink lots of water and other healthy drinks.

    • Call your healthcare provider if you are having trouble with bowel movements. You may need medicine.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider. During this visit, your incision will be checked and, if needed, stitches will be taken out.

When to call your healthcare provider

Make sure you know how to reach your healthcare provider or his or her office staff anytime, even on weekends and holidays. Call right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4 °F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Chills

  • Increase in the amount of vaginal discharge, or changes in discharge

  • Vaginal bleeding that soaks more than 1 pad over several hours.

  • Pain or burning when you urinate

  • Worsening belly (abdominal) pain

  • Pain that's not relieved by medicine

  • Redness, swelling, increased pain, or drainage around any incisions

  • Nausea or vomiting 

  • New redness, pain, swelling, or warmth in your leg(s) or arm(s)

Call 911

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Rapid, irregular heartbeat; chest pain

  • Shortness of breath, especially at rest

  • Cough

  • Trouble breathing

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

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