To determine the actual extent of the cancer, surgical exploration or staging is required. During the procedure, the doctor will examine the peritoneum, which is the inner lining of the abdomen. Fluid within the abdomen is sent for assessment which involves analysis under a microscope. Besides determining the stage of the cancer, the aim of surgery is to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Often this includes removing ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus and its surrounding lymphatics.
Additional treatment following surgery will be determined by the stage of the disease, the grade (aggressiveness) of the disease and the subtype of cancer.
For very early stage disease and non-aggressive types, further treatment may not be required. For the more advanced and aggressive types of cancers, chemotherapy is the treatment of choice.
Occasionally, patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer may be unsuitable for surgery in the first instance. In such cases, pre-operative chemotherapy may be given to shrink or control the cancer before surgery.
There are newer targeted drugs which can be used to treat selected cases of epithelial ovarian cancer in the appropriate disease settings, including intravenous (given by drip) Bevacizumab and oral Olaparib.
Ovarian cancer in the early stage can potentially be cured while those in the late stage of the cancer, permanent cure may be difficult.
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