Treatment for cervical cancer at the Mass General Cancer Center

Cervical Cancer Treatment Program

The Center for Gynecologic Oncology provides compassionate care for patients with cervical cancer.
Request an Appointment

Talk to an access nurse today 877-789-6100

Center for Gynecologic Cancers


We combine research, technology and an advanced understanding of cancer diagnosis and treatment to tailor your care to the individual characteristics of your disease. This customized approach is the future of cancer care.

Each year, we treat thousands of patients with rare or common forms of cancer. Studies show that this high level of experience improves outcomes for patients. Specialization also improves outcomes.  Our medical experts are sub-specialized by cancer type.  Many of our approaches are only available at a few other hospitals in the country.

Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Cancers

Our pathologists are sub-specialized in identifying gynecologic cancers, leading to more accurate diagnosis and staging. This forms the basis for your treatment.

Our gynecologic cancer pathologists are internationally recognized and consulted on the diagnosis of cervical cancer. They participate in tumor board meetings, sharing information about each patient's unique cancer with the entire treatment team to help guide care planning.

Our radiologists offer all options to diagnose and accurately stage gynecologic cancer, including:

  • Ultrasound
  • PET
  • PET/CT
  • MRI

They also offer promising novel imaging approaches and have extensive experience performing image-guided procedures like CT-guided biopsy. 

Medical Oncology

In addition to traditional chemotherapies, our medical oncologists offer innovative approaches including:

  • Novel Therapies for drug-resistant tumors
  • Access to leading-edge therapies through clinical trials conducted collaboratively with hospitals in the Harvard system and nationally with the Gynecologic Oncology Group
  • Chemotherapy to help boost sensitivity to radiation
  • Oncologists and specially trained nurses provide personal attention and advice on coping with side effects. Acupuncture is available to help manage side effects

Excellence in Surgical Care

Studies show that generally the less invasive the surgery, the faster the recovery. For patients needing cervical cancer surgery, our specialized surgeons offer minimally invasive and traditional surgical techniques including:

  • Minimally invasive robotic assisted surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgical techniques
  • Fertility-sparing surgery

Pioneering Radiation Therapies

Our specialized radiation teams offer a full spectrum of radiation treatments for cervical cancer including some approaches available at just a few other hospitals in the U.S. including:

  • Proton beam radiation therapy that pinpoints tumors with precision
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), which delivers different doses of radiation to different parts of a tumor simultaneously
  • Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) to deliver radiation directly into the tumor area during surgery
  • Concurrent chemoradiation
  • Preservation of sexual function with conservative surgery and chemoradiation
  • Outpatient brachytherapy to deliver radiation near or directly into the tumor using tiny internally implanted radiation sources

Learn more about radiation therapy.

Meet the Team

At the Center for Gynecologic Oncology, our multidisciplinary team of gynecologic cancer specialists provides individualized care and compassionate support services for women with cervical cancer. We consider patients and the family and friends involved in their care to be part of this team.

Patients are usually seen within one week of referral.

Your personalized treatment plan will be developed by experts from an array of gynecologic cancer specialties. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of your cancer, this treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these therapies.

The specialists involved in your care may include:

  • Medical Oncologists to prescribe the most effective chemotherapy treatments and discuss available clinical trials
  • Radiation Oncologists who specialize in delivering the highest therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
  • Surgical Oncologists experienced in the latest minimally-invasive gynecologic surgery approaches
  • Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who specialize in cancer care
  • Pathologists specializing in gynecologic cancers who provide a precise diagnosis of your cancer
  • Radiologists specializing in gynecologic malignancies that help guide the selection of appropriate imaging tests and provide accurate interpretation
  • Oncology psychiatrists and social workers experienced in helping with the cognitive side effects of cancer and treatment, as well the emotional and spiritual aspects of the cancer experience
  • A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet and nutrition during treatment
  • Palliative care providers to improve quality of life


Michael Birrer, MD

Michael J. Birrer, MD, PhD
Program Director, Gynecologic Oncology Program




Don S. Dizon, MD

Don S. Dizon, MD
Co-Clinical Director, Gynecologic Oncology Program




Marcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPHMarcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPH
Co-Clinical Director, Gynecologic Oncology Program




See the complete team list treating Ovarian Cancer


Patient Education

Information about Cervical Cancer

The cervix is the lower, narrow part of a woman's uterus (womb) located between the bladder and rectum. Cancer that begins in the cells lining the cervix is called cervical cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that about 12,900 new cases of cervical cancer would be diagnosed in the United States in 2015, and that the disease would cause about 4,100 deaths.

Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

A diagnosis of cervical cancer may be made through tests and procedures including:

  • Medical history and physical examination
  • Internal pelvic exam
  • Pap test (Pap smear)
  • Colposcopy
  • Endocervical curettage
  • Cone biopsy (conization)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) test

Cervical Cancer Treatment

Types of cervical cancer surgery include:

  • Cryosurgery: Use of liquid nitrogen, or a probe that is very cold, to freeze and kill cancer cells
  • Laser Surgery: Use of a powerful beam of light, which can be directed to specific parts of the body without making a large incision, to destroy abnormal cells
  • Hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus, including the cervix
  • Radical hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus, including the cervix, and part of the vagina
  • Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: Removal of an ovary and fallopian tube (known as bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy if both ovaries and both fallopian tubes are removed)

Nonsurgical ovarian cancer treatments include:

  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to kill or shrink tumors while sparing healthy tissue
  • Chemotherapy kills cancer cells through the use of intravenous (IV) or oral drugs
  • Targeted therapy uses drugs that attack specific parts of cancer cells
  • Clinical trials may provide access to new and promising therapies for ovarian cancer 

Learn more about cervical cancer on our patient education page.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies of new drugs, new combinations of drugs or already approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new and different ways. They may include new drug doses or new ways (schedules) to give the drugs. Clinical trials are run under strict guidelines. Their purpose is to help find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard (current) treatment. At Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, there are several clinical trials open for the treatment of breast cancer that use the latest in cancer treatments.

Cancer is increasingly becoming a disease in which the genetic make-up of each individual cancer drives therapy. The Center for Gynecologic Oncology also has access to clinical trials involving these targeted therapy approaches.

Find listings of our current Cervical Cancer Clinical Trials.

The Cancer Center also offers the Lazarex-MGH Cancer Care Equity Program, which strives to promote awareness about and access to cancer clinical trials through community outreach and education, financial assistance, and patient navigation. Learn more about this program.


If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our doctors, please call the Center for Gynecologic Oncology at (617) 724-4800.

Request an Appointment

Talk to an access nurse today 877-789-6100

Center for Gynecologic Cancers

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