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The primary treatment for ovarian cancer is surgery. The goal of treatment is to remove as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving the ovaries and their function. It may be used in combination with other therapies, such as chemotherapy, other medications, or radiation therapy. Comfort measures can be provided if the cancer is in advanced stages.

Talk to your doctor before treatment if:

  • You are or think you may be pregnant—Treatment can affect the fetus, leading to birth defects. Pregnancy can change or delay planned treatment. Talk to your doctor about birth control options until treatment is completed.
  • You plan on having children—Some forms of treatment may affect your fertility. There may be options available to preserve it.

It is recommended that ovarian cancer treatment is done in a hospital that specializes in gynecologic cancers. Your healthcare team will include doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals. It is important to maintain contact with your medical team, adhere to recommended treatment, and go to any recommended appointments for best outcomes possible.

Treatment may involve the following:

Surgery
Chemotherapy
Other treatments
Radiation therapy
Medications
Lifestyle changes

Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the US National Institutes of Health website.

References:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Gynecologic Practice. Committee Opinion No. 477: the role of the obstetrician-gynecologist in the early detection of epithelial ovarian cancer. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;117(3):746-746.

Ovarian cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003130-pdf.pdf. Accessed November 4, 2016.

Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900705/Ovarian-cancer. Updated November 2, 2016. Accessed November 4, 2016.

Ovarian cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/gynecologic-tumors/ovarian-cancer. Updated May 2013. Accessed November 4, 2016.

Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/ovarian/patient/ovarian-epithelial-treatment-pdq#section/_156. Updated November 3, 2016. Accessed November 4, 2016.

Woo YL, Kyrgiou M, Bryant A, Everett T, Dickinson HO. Centralisation of services for gynaecological cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(3):CD007945.



Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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