Ovarian cancer is commonly diagnosed through laparotomy. The gynecologic oncologist makes an abdominal incision, usually at the level of or just above the umbilicus (navel) down to the pubic area.

Because ovarian cancer can spread throughout the abdominal cavity and leave seeds, or rice-sized implants of tumor, on the surfaces of any abdominal organs, the goal of the surgery is to remove as much tumor as possible and to send the fluid in the abdomen for microscopic evaluation. Studies have shown that women with ovarian cancer who have surgeries that reduces tumor volume to less than 1 cm (called maximal tumor debulking) have a much better chance for cure or prolonged remission than women who do not.

Once the results from the test or procedure are returned you will be able to make thoughtful decisions. Please see Newly Diagnosed for information on being patient active, treatment decisions, partnering with your healthcare team and finding support. 

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is difficult. Please see Caregivers and/or Online Support for more information on how the Cancer Support Community can offer support.

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