Treatment

Treatment for ovarian cancer depends upon how and where the cancer has grown (the stage of cancer), whether or not you have symptoms, and your overall health.

Surgery
This procedure involves removing as much of the tumor as possible. During surgery, depending on the stage of your cancer, doctors may also remove the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, nearby lymph glands, and a fold of fatty tissue. It is very important to have surgery performed by a trained doctor known as a gynecologic oncologist. Contact the Society of Gynecologic Oncology or visit their website, www.sgo.org to find a list of trained gynecologic oncologists in your area.

Chemotherapy
After surgery, most women with ovarian cancer receive drugs to kill any remaining cancer cells. The most common combination of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer is a platinum compound such as carboplatin or cisplatin plus a taxane, such as paclitaxel (Taxol®) or docetaxel (Taxotere®). Other chemotherapy drugs used to treat ovarian cancer include: Albumin bound paclitaxel (nab-paclitaxel, Abraxane®), Altretamine (Hexalen®), Capecitabine (Xeloda®), Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan®), Etoposide (VP-16), Gemcitabine (Gemzar®), Ifosfamide (Ifex®), Irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar®), Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil®), Melphalan (Alkeran®), Pemetrexed (Alimta®), Topotecan (Hycamtin®) or Vinorelbine (Navelbine®). Lynparaza™, also known as olaparib, is a type of PARP inhibitor therapy which is currently an option for women with BRCA mutations who have recurrent disease.

Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy
This procedure involves a surgically implanted port or catheter to direct chemotherapy into the membrane lining the abdomen. Intraperitoneal (IP) therapy is combined with intravenous (IV) therapy, using chemotherapy drugs that work best for treating ovarian cancer. IP therapy may be difficult on patients, and some may not be able to complete all six cycles of the therapy. But research has shown IP to be an effective treatment option, so talk to your gynecologic oncologist about whether or not this treatment option is right for you.

Open to Options®
If you are facing a cancer treatment decision, Open to Options® is a research-proven program that can help you prepare a list of questions to share with your doctor. In less than an hour, our Open to Options® specialists can help you create a written list of specific questions about your concerns for your doctor.

Clinical Trials
You or your doctor may be interested in pursuing a clinical trial. Clinical trials offer patients the opportunity to benefit from new combinations of therapies while also advancing the pace of knowledge about the disease and treatment options.

If your doctor has not mentioned a clinical trial as an option, be proactive and ask if it is right for you. Although there is much information about clinical trials on the internet, it is important to talk with your doctor so you can find out if the right trial exists for you. Each trial has specific guidelines and eligibility criteria, as well as exclusions based on prior treatments, overall health, and stage of your disease. Your doctor or nurse will also be able to explain to you what participating in a clinical will entail and how it may affect your care and daily life.


Updated May 28, 2015