Ovarian cancer starts at the ovaries and is mostly diagnosed in the advanced stages due to its mild symptoms. There are three types of ovarian cancer namely germ cell tumours, epithelial cell tumours and stromal cell tumours.
When the cancer is detected at stage three, which is mostly the case, the treatment becomes rigorous and the cancer would have affected one or both the ovaries, the pelvic region and sometimes metastasis to the liver and lungs. At this stage, treatment involves surgery, chemotherapy etc.
Your doctor might also recommend novel methods of treatment through clinical trials as well if the cancer has reached a stage where it is no longer treatable. Discussed here are the treatment methods adopted for Stage III ovarian cancer.
Treatment For Stage III Ovarian Cancer
Surgical Tumour Debulking
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Surgical tumour debulking is one of the first line treatment methods adopted for all kinds of cancer. The idea behind the surgery is to immediately curtail the spread of the tumour and save the life of the patient. Surgical removal of the growth will immediately remove the threatening part of the cancer and offer greater life expectancy to the patient.
Surgical removal of the tumour before a chemotherapy session will also increase the efficiency of the chemotherapy and prevent the resistance of the patient to chemotherapy drugs. The surgeon will remove the majority of the tumour cells present so that there is very little cancer cells present to be removed through a chemotherapy session.
However, surgery is not always an option as the tumour cells can sometimes be too big or has spread to too many areas in the third stage making it difficult for the surgeon to undertake a surgical session. Talk to your oncologist about the possibility.
Chemotherapy is the standard treatment for stage III ovarian cancer. Once the surgery is undertaken, getting a chemotherapy done will help in removing any stray cancer cell that might have migrated to other areas of the body.
Chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously or orally and reach all areas of the body through the blood stream. This is also a precaution against possible recurrence of the cancer.
As stage III is an advanced stage of cancer, it could have spread to the lymph nodes and might have spread to the abdominal area as well. In such cases, if survival is possible, your oncologist would recommend a radical hysterectomy.
This involves the removal of the entire uterus along with surrounding reproductive organs like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, lymph nodes and other areas where the cancer has spread. This will help save the patient as the cancer can be stopped from spreading further.
Radical hysterectomy will make the woman incapable of bearing a child and hence much thought has to go into the decision process before undertaking it.
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More than 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year and up to 50 percent of them lose their lives. This makes it essential for new research and development in the field. A medley of new medicines are in the trial stage and those willing to take up clinical trials can benefit from it. However, one has to also consider the risks involved in clinical trials.