Ovarian cancer occurs in the ovaries of a woman’s reproductive system. Knowing the main treatments for ovarian cancer patients is the first thing to do when one has been diagnosed with this condition. Each treatment choice is different from the other and one must weigh their pros and cons very carefully before opting for any option. One must also be well informed about the possible risks and complications of each treatment option.
Herein, we discuss the main treatments for ovarian cancer patients.
1. Surgery of the ovary/ovaries
This involves operations to remove cancer cells. It could be surgery to take out one ovary if cancer has not spread beyond it. In such a situation, the fallopian tube on that side where the affected ovary must be removed too. After this surgery, one may still be able to conceive and bear children. Surgery may be needed for removing both ovaries where cancer has spread in both but there is no sign of any additional cancer. This process of taking both ovaries and fallopian tubes out leaves the uterus intact. One can, therefore, become pregnant with frozen eggs and embryos of their own.
2. Surgery of uterus and ovaries
In this, both ovaries and uterus are taken out when cancer is widespread or one no longer wishes to have children and can let go of their uterus. Here the surgeon removes the ovaries, the uterus, fallopian tubes, surrounding lymph nodes and fatty abdominal tissue layer called the omentum. When cancer is at an advanced stage, the doctor typically recommends chemo first before surgery to get rid of much of the cancerous cells.
3. Chemotherapy and targeted therapy
Chemotherapy involves medication treatments using chemicals for killing cancer cells. These medications are injected into the patient’s bloodstream or they can be taken orally. This procedure is usually done after surgery to eradicate any leftover cancer cells.
Targeted therapy makes use of medicines that will target specific weaknesses inside the cancerous cells. This therapy is reserved for treating cancer that relapses after being treated once or resists the more-popular main treatments for ovarian cancer. For this to be successful, the doctor will need to test the cancer cells to see which therapy will work best.
Supportive care or palliative care focuses on offering relief from symptoms of cancer and pain. These teams of professionals can work with the patient for giving that extra support for ongoing treatments. So, when undergoing chemotherapy or surgery, patients can seek palliative care. Hormone therapy is done in some situations for treating stromal tumors in the ovaries but not recommended for epithelial ovarian cancers.
4. Clinical trials
Doctors keep undertaking research work to find new cancer treatments and methods. One can enroll themselves for such clinical trials to access the latest techniques that can potentially become the main treatments for ovarian cancer in the future. However, these are not for everyone and it is best to consult the doctor before opting for this treatment option.
Being diagnosed with ovarian cancer can be an overwhelming emotion, and one is likely to feel scared. Coping with feelings may be hard and it always helps to talk to someone who one is comfortable discussing their feelings with. There are also support groups for people dealing with this; one should reach out to them because the main treatments for any type of cancer, let alone ovarian cancer, will be emotionally and physically exhausting.