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Scientists say they may have made the biggest breakthrough in treating cervical cancer in 20 years, using a course of existing, cheap drugs ahead of usual radiotherapy treatment.

Trial findings, revealed at the ESMO medical conference, show the approach cut the risk of women dying from the disease or the cancer returning by 35%.

In the study, 250 women with cervical cancer received the new treatment - an intensive six-week course of carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy, followed by the "usual" treatment of radiotherapy plus weekly cisplatin and brachytherapy, known as chemoradiation.

Another 250 women - the control group - received only the usual chemoradiation.

Five years later, 80% of those who had received the new treatment were alive and 73% had not seen their cancer return or spread.

In comparison in the "usual" treatment group, 72% were alive and 64% had not seen their cancer return or spread.

Cancer Research UK, which funded the work, called the results "remarkable". It hopes clinics will soon start doing the same for patients.

Source: BBC