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Ovarian Cancer: Treatments and Services

For the treatment of ovarian cancer, most women have surgery and chemotherapy. Though the use of radiation treatment solely for the treatment of ovarian cancer is rare, it may be used in some cases to relieve pain or other symptoms that result from chemotherapy or surgery.


Surgery
During surgery, the surgeon will make a cut in the wall of the abdomen in a surgery called a laparotomy. Depending on where the cancer is found, one of the following surgeries may be performed:

  • Salpingo-oophorect0my - removes both ovaries and both fallopian tubes
  • Hysterectomy - removes the uterus
  • Other surgical procedures may be used to remove surrounding lymph nodes, tissue samples from the pelvis and abdomen, or the omentum which is the fatty tissue that covers the intestines.


Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy drugs are usually injected or given by mouth and are used to kill cancer cells. Some women may have chemotherapy before or after surgery.


Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses high energy x-ray beams to treat cancer. Usually, radiation therapy is not the initial method used to treat ovarian cancer; however, radiation therapy may be used to treat pain and/or other symptoms caused by other ovarian cancer treatment methods. It is possible that radiation to the abdomen may cause vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and/or nausea. Radiation therapy may also cause skin irritation. Most times, a doctor can try to relieve these symptoms with certain treatment methods.