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How Is Ovarian Cancer Treated?

Two middle aged women

If your doctor says that you have ovarian cancer, or fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancers, ask to be referred to a gynecologic oncologist—a doctor who has been trained to treat cancers of a woman’s reproductive system. This doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan.

Types of Treatment

Ovarian cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of ovarian cancer and how far it has spread. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Usually, treatment for ovarian cancer involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.

  • Surgery: Doctors remove cancer tissue in an operation.
  • Chemotherapy: Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
  • Radiation: Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer.

Different treatments may be provided by different doctors on your medical team.

  • Gynecologic oncologists are doctors who have been trained to treat cancers of a woman’s reproductive system.
  • Surgeons are doctors who perform operations.
  • Medical oncologists are doctors who treat cancer with medicine.
  • Radiation oncologists are doctors who treat cancer with radiation.

Visit the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for more information about ovarian cancer treatment.

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