Treating Ovarian Cancer 

If you have cancer, a team of specialists will work together to provide you with the best possible treatment and care.

This is known as a multidisciplinary team. It will often consist of specialist cancer surgeons (gynaecological oncologists), a medical oncologist (chemotherapy specialist) and a specialist cancer nurse. Other members may include a radiologist, pathologist, physiotherapist, dietitian and an occupational therapist.

When deciding which treatment is best for you, your doctors will consider:

  • The stage of your cancer (its size and how far it’s spread)
  • Your general health
  • Whether fertility is an issue

You can discuss treatment with your care team and ask questions at any time. Surgery and chemotherapy are the two main treatments for ovarian cancer.

Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage (3 or 4) when it has spread to other parts of the abdomen (tummy). Advanced cancer may not be curable. The goal of treatment will be to put the tumour into remission, so it shrinks or disappears.

Most women with ovarian cancer will be considered for surgery. It sometimes isn’t possible to confirm the stage of the cancer until surgery is carried out.

Your doctor will discuss what will happen during surgery. It will probably involve removing:

  • Both ovaries and the fallopian tubes (a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy)
  • The womb (a total abdominal hysterectomy)
  • The omentum – a fatty layer of tissue within the abdomen (an omentectomy)

The surgeon may also remove the lymph nodes from your pelvis and abdomen, and samples of nearby tissue, to find out whether the cancer has spread.

If it has spread, the surgeon will try to remove as much of it as possible. This is known as “debulking surgery”.

If the cancer is confined to one or both ovaries, you may only need to have the ovary or ovaries removed, leaving your womb intact. This means you may still be able to carry a pregnancy.

You will probably be ready to go home three to seven days after your operation, but it can take many weeks to fully recover.

When you go home, you’ll need to exercise gently to build up your strength and fitness. Walking and swimming are good exercises that are suitable for most people after treatment for ovarian cancer. Discuss the types of exercise that are suitable for you with your doctor or physiotherapist.

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Causes of Ovarian Cancer
Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer
Preventing Ovarian Cancer
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Causes of Vaginal Cancer
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Symptoms of Womb Cancer
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Diagnosing Cervical Cancer
Treating Cervical Cancer
Preventing Cervical Cancer
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