How Is Ovarian Cancer Treated?

An Aggressive Program

When you receive ovarian cancer care from us, we tailor an aggressive and precise treatment program to your particular situation.

Your treatment plan is based on your individual needs and the type of ovarian cancer you have. Our multidisciplinary team of gynecologic cancer specialists ̶ gynecologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists ̶ collaborates to customize a treatment plan specifically suited to your needs.

Our gynecologic cancer specialists meet regularly at a tumor conference, where they discuss your care and compare it to nationally established guidelines. This multidisciplinary team of specialists creates and coordinates treatment strategies for each patient.

More than 15,000 women die of ovarian cancer each year, making it the 5th leading cause of death among American women. Contributing to this alarming statistic is that 60 percent of ovarian cancer patients do not receive treatment that follows nationally established guidelines, according to a study presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.


Treating ovarian cancer includes both surgery and chemotherapy. Molecular and genomic testing may be recommended to help identify optimal therapies.

Our gynecologic oncology surgeons are highly skilled and nationally recognized. As an academic medical center, we treat a high volume of ovarian cancer patients and have extensive experience treating the disease. Our gynecologic oncologists use the most advanced and minimally invasive surgical techniques available.

During your monthly visits, your team will test you for the tumor marker CA-125. It is a protein in your blood that is associated with ovarian cancer. Tumor markers help your doctor evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment.

Surgery

Surgery is the primary treatment for ovarian cancer. During surgery, your doctor will remove both ovaries, the uterus, fallopian tubes and any other tissue affected by cancer during debulking. If it is apparent the cancer has spread, other organs may be partially or completely removed as well.

Chemotherapy

Following surgery, you may require chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered several ways:

  • Intravenously or IV is the most common means, and involves inserting a needle into a vein or through an implanted plastic port under the skin.
  • Intraperitoneal chemotherapy or IP is another form of delivery. IP delivers concentrated chemotherapy into the abdominal cavity through a catheter or implanted port. The medication circulates inside the abdomen, which allows it to reach more of the internal surface area where cancer is likely to spread. The drugs also get into the blood and travel through the body.

Clinical trials

We encourage our patients to take part in clinical research trials for ovarian cancer. Many of these studies are initiated by our own gynecologic cancer investigators, who design and implement the research as we work to provide the most advanced ovarian cancer care. Through these trials, we evaluate potential new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer.

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