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Is chemotherapy required after radiotherapy?

Q: My sister has cervical cancer stage 2B. She has undergone a hysterectomy followed by radiation (25 sittings followed by a brachytherapy for one day). Does she have to go through chemotherapy now? Is there any way of detecting if she still carries any cancerous cells in her body? This can help us decide whether to let her go through chemotherapy. What is the incremental benefit with chemotherapy?

A:The role of chemotherapy after completion of surgery and radiotherapy is controversial. One can do concurrent chemo-radiation after surgery. The science is incomplete at the moment to predict the curability of disease. One needs to do regular tests every six months to once a year for next five years to check for a relapse. If the disease does not relapse for next five years, the patient is said to be cured. There is a good chance of cure in stage 2B.


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