The primary treatment for ovarian cancer is surgery. The goal of treatment is to remove as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving the ovaries and their function. The treatment plan will often involve a combination of approaches based on the characteristics of the cancer, woman's age, general health, and prognosis. Comfort measures can be provided if the cancer is in advanced stages.
Talk to your doctor before treatment if:
- You are or think you may be pregnant—Treatment can affect the fetus, leading to birth defects. Pregnancy can change or delay planned treatment. Talk to your doctor about birth control options until treatment is completed.
- You plan on having children—Some forms of treatment may affect your fertility. There may be options available to preserve it.
It is recommended that ovarian cancer treatment is done in a hospital that specializes in gynecologic cancers. Your healthcare team will include doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals. It is important to maintain contact with your medical team, adhere to recommended treatment, and go to any recommended appointments for best outcomes possible.
Ovarian cancer treatment includes:
Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the US National Institutes of Health website.
Committee on Gynecologic Practice, Society of Gynecologic Oncology. Committee Opinion No. 716: the role of the obstetrician-gynecologist in the early detection of epithelial ovarian cancer in women at average risk. Obstet Gynecol. 2017;130(3):e146-e149.
Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900705/Ovarian-cancer. Updated November 17, 2017. Accessed January 29, 2018.
Ovarian cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/gynecologic-tumors/ovarian-cancer. Updated March 2017. Accessed January 29, 2018.
Treating ovarian cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer/treating.html. Updated February 4, 2016. Accessed January 29, 2018.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/ovarian/patient/ovarian-epithelial-treatment-pdq#section/_156. Updated October 13, 2017. Accessed January 29, 2018.
Woo YL, Kyrgiou M, Bryant A, Everett T, Dickinson HO. Centralisation of services for gynaecological cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(3):CD007945.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 11/4/2016