Ovarian cancer treatment
The treatment for ovarian cancer depends on the type of ovarian cancer you have, the stage of the cancer, whether you wish to have children, whether you have a faulty gene, your general health and fitness, and your doctors’ recommendations.
In most cases, surgery is the main treatment. Surgery for ovarian cancer is complex. It is recommended that you have it performed by a gynaecological oncologist at a hospital that does a lot of these operations (high-volume centre).
Learn more about:
- Treatment options by types of ovarian cancer
- Other treatment options
- Making treatment decisions
- Targeted therapy
- Radiation therapy
Treatment options by type of ovarian cancer
Epithelial – stage 1
- usually treated with surgery alone
- may be offered chemotherapy after surgery if there is a high risk of the cancer coming back
Epithelial – stage 2, 3 and 4
- usually treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy
- new targeted therapy drugs are being offered to people with a BRCA gene fault
- in some cases, radiation therapy is offered
- usually treated with surgery or chemotherapy or both
- usually treated with surgery, sometimes followed by chemotherapy or targeted therapy
- usually treated with surgery only
Other treatment options
Some women with ovarian cancer may feel that they are not given as many options for treatment as there are for other types of cancer. This is because there are only a few treatment plans for ovarian cancer that have been proven to be effective.
Research is continuing into ovarian cancer treatments and, in some cases, you may be able to join a clinical trial to access new treatments.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
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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