Ovarian Cancer- treatment options


There are numerous ovarian cancer treatment options today, with the suitability being highly dependent on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the general health of the patient. That said, a treatment option can be administered alone or in combination with others for greater efficacy. Some of the most common treatment options are:

Surgery

Surgery is one of the most popular ovarian cancer treatment options and is mostly the final step in the diagnosis process, as the stage of the cancer and the extent of the damage can only be properly assessed once it is performed. Surgery for an early stage ovarian cancer (stage 1) usually involves the removal of parts of the reproductive organs-the ovaries, Fallopian tubes or the uterus. A woman suffering from stage 1 ovarian cancer can have children in the future if the cancer affects only one of her ovaries, which in this case only one ovary and one Fallopian tube are removed.

Surgery for women with advanced ovarian cancer is termed as debulking surgery, and the aim is to remove as much of the tumour as possible, because at this stage the cancer has spread away from the ovary and reproductive organ regions. The procedure usually also involves the removal of tissues from adjacent organs to which the cancer has spread.

Chemotherapy

This treatment option popularly referred to as ‘chemo’ works best when the tumour is small, and is often administered after surgery has been performed on a patient to ‘clean out’ any cancer cells that may be present. It involves the use of drugs to attack cancerous cells and cause them to slow down or stop growing, while ensuring minimal damage to normal cells. A chemotherapy schedule usually involves specific cycles or rounds of drugs administered over a fixed period of time; taken orally, intravenously or through intraperitoneal injection.

Radiation therapy

This is an occasional treatment option that is often employed when the cancer is recurring and confined to a small area in the body. The treatment, which can be administered internally or externally involves the use of radioactive materials or special high energy x-rays, which are directed at the specific site bearing the cancerous cells. The x-rays damage the DNA of the cancer cells, which consequently prevents them from growing. That said, the side effects of this treatment plan depend on the dosage and the area of the body being treated, and usually disappear after the completion of the treatment.

Complementary therapies

Complementary treatment options are increasingly being adopted and continue to be developed alongside the main procedures. Most of them constitute natural treatment alternatives, mainly employed to manage symptoms, therapy side effects and pain, and are also used to improve the patient’s general health and well-being.