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Treating Ovarian Cancer at Different Stages

The earlier the cancer is caught, the less extensive the treatment procedures


National Institutes of Health

Based on content from the NIH publication, “Ovarian Epithelial Cancer Treatment.”

Stage I and Stage II Ovarian Epithelial Cancer

Treatment of stage I and stage II ovarian epithelial cancer may include the following:

  •     Total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and omentectomy. Lymph nodes and other tissues in the pelvis and abdomen are removed and examined under the microscope to look for cancer cells.
  •     Total abdominal hysterectomy, unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and omentectomy. Lymph nodes and other tissues in the pelvis and abdomen are removed and examined under the microscope to look for cancer cells.
  •     A clinical trial of internal or external radiation therapy.
  •     A clinical trial of chemotherapy.
  •     A clinical trial of surgery followed by chemotherapy or watchful waiting (closely monitoring a patient's condition without giving any treatment until symptoms appear or change).
  •     A clinical trial of a new treatment.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I ovarian epithelial cancer and stage II ovarian epithelial cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug.

Stage III and IV Ovarian Epithelial Cancer

Treatment of stage III and stage IV ovarian epithelial cancer may be surgery to remove the tumor, total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and omentectomy. After surgery, treatment depends on how much tumor remains.

When the tumor that remains is 1 centimeter or smaller, treatment is usually combination chemotherapy, including intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy.

When the tumor that remains is larger than 1 centimeter, treatment may include the following:

  •     Combination chemotherapy, including intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy.
  •     A clinical trial of combination chemotherapy, including IP chemotherapy, before and after second-look surgery (surgery performed after the initial surgery to determine whether tumor cells remain).
  •     A clinical trial of biologic therapy or targeted therapy following combination chemotherapy.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III ovarian epithelial cancer and stage IV ovarian epithelial cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

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