Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

Updated at: Jan 21, 2013
Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

The treatment procedure for ovarian cancer depends on various factors, such as staging, its type, health history and more.

Dr Poonam Sachdev
MiscellaneousWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Oct 04, 2012

Treatment of ovarian cancer aims to completely cure the disease but if this is not possible your doctor will focus on removing part of tumour which is possible, preventing the tumour from growing or spreading, increasing life expectancy and maintaining quality of life.

There are many types of treatment for ovarian cancer. Treatment is decided based on factors such as:

  • stage of the cancer
  • type of ovarian cancer
  • your age and general health
  • whether the cancer is diagnosed for the first time or has recurred (come back).


[Read: Tips to Prevent Ovarian Cancer]


Treatment options for ovarian cancer include:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy.

Surgery: Several types of surgery are done for ovarian cancer. The type of surgery done depends on factors such as the extent of the ovarian cancer, type of cancer, your desire to have children. Some of the surgeries done for ovarian cancer are:

  • Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: In this procedure one ovary and one fallopian tube is removed.
  • Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: In this surgical procedure both ovaries and both fallopian tubes are removed.
  • Total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: The uterus, cervix, and both ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed in this surgery. The surgery can be performed through the vagina or through a large incision or cut in the abdomen.
  • Partial oophorectomy: A part of one ovary or part of both ovaries is removed in this procedure.
  • Omentectomy: The omentum (a piece of the tissue lining the abdominal wall) is removed during this surgery.
  • Tumour debulking: If it is not possible to remove the entire tumour, surgery may be done to remove as much of the tumour as possible. This is known as tumour debulking surgery.


[Read: Diet for Ovarian Cancer Patients]


Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, uses high-powered energy beams to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumours. Radiation therapy is usually given in the affected area and the cancer cells are treated or destroyed. However radiotherapy damages normal cells of the body as well and can cause side effects like fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and erythema of skin.These side effects can be distressing but your doctor will prescribe medications to treat or help control them.

Chemotherapy:Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy the kill cancer cells. For ovarian cancer you may be given chemotherapy:

  • after surgery to destroy any cancerous cells that may have been left
  • to control the growth of tumour
  • to relieve symptoms of the disease.

The drugs used for chemotherapy drugs may be given by injection into a vein (intravenously, or IV) or given orally (that is by mouth). Most of the drugs are givenby injection into a vein. Some women may be given the chemotherapy drug directly into the abdomen--this method, is called intraperitoneal chemotherapy. The drug is delivered into the abdomen through a catheter. A second-look surgery may be performed after chemotherapy. This is done to examine if some growth is still present in the abdomen. The surgeon may also take sample (peritoneal fluid and tissue samples) for examining to see whether the anticancer drugs have been successful.

Treatment for ovarian cancer: Most women with ovarian cancer need more than one type of treatment (surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy). Your doctor after examination and tests and discussion with you will decide on the best treatment for you. If needed get a second opinion from another doctor before proceeding with treatment.

Read more articles on Ovarian Cancer



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