Skip to content

Ovarian Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Treatment Option Overview

    continued...

    Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, some patients may be offered chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.

    After chemotherapy for an ovarian germ cell tumor, a second-look laparotomy may be done. This is similar to the laparotomy that is done to find out the stage of the cancer. Second-look laparotomy is a surgical procedure to find out if tumor cells are left after primary treatment. During this procedure, the doctor will take samples of lymph nodes and other tissues in the abdomen to see if any cancer is left. This procedure is not done for dysgerminomas.

    Observation

    Observation is closely watching a patient's condition without giving any treatment unless symptoms appear or change.

    Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

    See Drugs Approved for Ovarian Cancer for more information.

    Radiation therapy

    Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

    1|2|3|4

    Today on WebMD

    Ovarian cancer illustration
    What are the symptoms?
    doctory with x-ray
    Get to know the Symptoms.
     
    cancer cell
    HPV is the top cause. Find out more.
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
    QUIZ
    Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Screening Tests for Women
    Slideshow
    Graphic of ovaries within reproductive system
    VIDEO
     
    Ovarian Cancer Marker
    VIDEO
    Pets Improve Your Health
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
    Healthy meal with salmon
    Article