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Ovarian cancer: Approach to Care

Medical advances leading to more effective treatments have greatly enhanced the five-year survival rate of women with ovarian cancer when diagnosed in the early stages.

Genetic Counseling
Because women with a family history of ovarian and/or breast cancer are at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, genetic testing may be provided through the UF Cancer Genetics Program, which includes certified genetic counselors and nurse specialists. This team can then develop plans for long-term monitoring and care.

Treatment
Surgery is the first line of treatment for ovarian cancer. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient's desire to have children, this surgery may include removal of the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, nearby lymph nodes and omentum.

  • Focus on sparing the uterus and healthy ovary in women with stage I cancer
  • Egg removal and freezing prior to surgery is available
  • Tumor debulking is performed to remove as much of the cancer as possible
  • After surgery, a combination of chemotherapy is used to destroy remaining cells
  • Intravenous chemotherapy
  • Intraperitoneal chemotherapy application in cavity where tumor resides, which greatly improves outcomes

Did you know?

  • There are three types of ovarian cancer — epithelial, germ cell, and stromal cell. Epithelial is most common.
  • Ovarian cancer ranks 4th in cancer deaths among women in the US.
  • Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all of the gynecologic cancers.
  • In 2012, an estimated 22,280 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  • In 2012, approximately 15,500 women will die from ovarian cancer.
  • Ovarian cancer symptoms can be vague – bloating, constipation, nausea, feeling full quickly when eating.
  • Having a BRCA mutation increases the risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Most women (75-80%) present late in the disease, stage 3 or 4.
  • Surgery by a gynecologic oncologist is critical and can improve outcomes.

Learn more about UF physicians who specialize in ovarian cancer, and join other patients and families who have been affected by ovarian cancer at Living Despite Cancer's ovarian cancer resources page. Also, check out Dr. Merry Jennifer Markham's interview discussing ovarian cancer awareness, including signs, symptoms and treatments.