Advanced ovarian cancer
In most cases, ovarian cancer is advanced when it is first diagnosed. If this is your situation, at some stage your doctors may talk to you about palliative treatment. This is treatment that helps to improve people’s quality of life by managing the symptoms of cancer without trying to cure the disease. It is best thought of as supportive care.
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Many people think that palliative treatment is only for people at the end of their life, but it can help people at any stage of advanced ovarian cancer, even if they are still having active treatment of the cancer. It is about living for as long as possible in the most satisfying way you can.
As well as slowing the spread of cancer, palliative treatment can relieve pain and help manage other symptoms. Treatment may include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. If you have swelling and are uncomfortable, you may have a procedure called paracentesis or ascitic tap to drain the extra fluid from your abdomen.
Palliative treatment is one aspect of palliative care, in which a team of health professionals aims to meet your physical, emotional, cultural, social and spiritual needs. The team also provides support to families and carers.
Video: What is palliative care?
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
A/Prof Sam Saidi, Senior Staff Specialist, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; A/Prof Penny Blomfield, Gynaecological Oncologist, Hobart Women’s Specialists, and Chair, Australian Society of Gynaecologic Oncologists, TAS; Dr Robyn Cheuk, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Kim Hobbs, Clinical Specialist Social Worker, Gynaecological Cancer, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Sonja Kingston, Consumer; Clinical A/Prof Judy Kirk, Head, Familial Cancer Service, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead Hospital, and Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Prof Linda Mileshkin, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Researcher, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Support Team, Ovarian Cancer Australia; Emily Stevens, Gynaecology Oncology Nurse Coordinator, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Dr Amy Vassallo, Fussell Family Foundation Research Fellow, Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW; Merran Williams, Consumer
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