Treatments options for ovarian cancer will depend on your age, health and the disease’s progression. Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these options. For low malignant potential (LMP) ovarian tumors, which rarely spread past the ovary, the ovary with the tumor and the fallopian tube on that side are removed; in some cases, only the ovarian cyst itself if excised.
Surgical treatments for ovarian cancer include hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus), pelvic lymph node dissection (the removal of pelvic lymph nodes) and salpingo-oophorectomy (the removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries). In chemotherapy, anticancer drugs are used to treat cancer cells by interfering with the cells’ ability to grow or reproduce. With radiation therapy, high doses of radiation are employed to kill cells and shrink tumors. There are two kinds of radiation therapy, external beam therapy and internal radiation. In the former, high levels are radiation are sent precisely to cancer cells; this procedure is painless and usually lasts just a few minutes. In the latter, radiation is given inside the body as close to the tumor as possible; in some cases, a radioactive liquid is given through a catheter in the abdomen. Internal radiation, however, is only rarely used to treat ovarian cancer.
Other treatment options for ovarian cancer are biological therapies to help improve the woman’s immune system and anti-angiogenesis therapy to decrease the amount of blood a tumor can receive. Other drugs can be used to counteract the side effects of chemotherapy.