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What Are the Different Types of Ovarian Cancer Treatment?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Ovarian cancer treatment methods vary according to factors such as the stage of the cancer, how far the disease has spread, and the overall health of the patient. Personal preferences of both the doctor and patient also come into play. The most common types of treatment include surgery, various types of chemotherapy, and drug therapy. Any questions or concerns about the most appropriate type of ovarian cancer treatment in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Surgical intervention is often the first step in ovarian cancer treatment. This type of surgery focuses on removing as much of the cancerous tissue as possible. A small sample of the removed tissue is typically sent to a laboratory for further testing. Surgery also helps the doctor to determine the stage of the cancer so that appropriate treatment can begin. In many cases, this is the only type of treatment required, especially if the surgery is performed during the early stages of the disease.

Chemotherapy involves the use of a combination of specific medications containing chemicals that are designed to destroy or slow the progression of growth of the harmful cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs may be given in the form of a pill or may be introduced into a vein through a small tube known as an IV. In some cases, chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with other ovarian cancer treatment methods. The type of chemotherapy used and the specific drugs that are given depend on the stage of the cancer.

A type of drug known as bevacizumab may be used as an ovarian cancer treatment option when certain forms of the disease are present. This drug may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy treatment. There is a risk of bowel perforation when taking bevacizumab, so close medical monitoring is essential.

Additional surgery may be needed as a form of ovarian cancer treatment, especially if other forms of treatment are unsuccessful or if the cancer returns at a later date. Surgical options include removal of the affected ovary and fallopian tube, or if the cancer has begun to spread to other areas of the reproductive system, a hysterectomy may be required. A hysterectomy is a type of surgery in which the uterus is removed, ending a woman's ability to be fertile. When a hysterectomy is performed, the woman will no longer have a monthly menstrual cycle, and menopause will begin right away. Hormone therapy may be needed, especially if both of the ovaries have been removed.

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