HealthSheets™


Discharge Instructions for Cervical Cancer

You have had a procedure or surgery to treat cervical cancer. There are several different procedures for treating cervical cancer. Some are simple while others are quite involved. Your recovery will vary depending on several factors. This includes the size (stage) of the cancer, the procedure, your age, and your overall health. Be sure to follow any specific instructions 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 after surgery. You may need extra rest throughout the day. But, try to get up and move around as you are able. Ask family members or friends to help with shopping, meals, housework, and other tasks. Talk with your nurses or other hospital staff about having an aid through a home health care agency, if needed. 

Make sure you know:

  • When it is safe to use stairs. Go slowly and pause after every few steps. Have someone with you at first. Try to plan your day so you don’t have to go up and down stairs often.

  • If it’s safe for you to lift heavy objects

  • When you can begin driving. Don't drive if you are taking pain medicine or other medicine that makes you drowsy.

  • When you can do house or yard work or return to your job.

Other home care

To help with your recovery and avoid problems: 

  • Take only those medicines prescribed by your healthcare provider. This includes over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbs.

  • 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.

  • Talk with your healthcare provider or nurse about managing any bandages you may have.

  • Know when you can shower or take a bath.

  • Don’t put anything in your vagina. This includes tampons or douches.

  • Know when you can have sex again.

Try to avoid constipation:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

  • Drink plenty 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 provider will check the incision and remove stitches if needed.

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 any changes in discharge

  • Vaginal bleeding that soaks more than 1 pad per hour

  • Pain or burning when you urinate

  • Worsening belly (abdominal) pain

  • Pain that is not relieved by medicine

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

  • Nausea or vomiting 

  • Leg pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, or swelling

Call 911

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Chest pain

  • Cough

  • Trouble breathing

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