How is stage 4 ovarian cancer treated?
The treatment given to stage 4 ovarian cancer is similar to the way stage 3 ovarian cancer is treated. However, treating stage 4 ovarian cancer is hard as at this stage as the cancer has already spread to distant sites and organs like the liver, bones or lungs. The goal of the treatment at this stage is to help the patient feel better and live longer as curing cancer at this stage is difficult.
Stage 4 ovarian cancer is also treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy first is usually the main approach followed by debulking surgery if patient responds well to chemotherapy. Otherwise, continue chemotherapy with palliative intention.
The treatment that includes surgery is usually done with the procedure of debulking. The procedure of debulking includes the removal of the tumor which is later followed by chemotherapy.
After the treatment of surgery is given, the patient is allowed to recover from the surgery and then is started with chemotherapy and this treatment goes on for about a year.
However, the treatment options may change for women who are not healthy to go through the surgery first and in most cases, they are given chemotherapy as the first treatment. If the tumor shrinks in size after the first 3 cycles, the surgery is conducted and another 3 cycles of chemo are done after the surgery.
At this stage, there is also the option of palliative treatment which is treatment aimed at improving the patient’s comfort and not fighting against the cancer. Palliative treatments also have the goal of relieving the various symptoms of ovarian cancer. Women with ovarian cancer have abdominal fluid that collects and causes discomfort but this condition can be treated through a process called paracentesis. In this procedure, the skin is numbed and a needle is used to draw out the fluid. There is also an option of injecting chemo into the abdomen to slow down the fluid build up. These treatments cause relief to some women with these symptoms and may also help some live longer.
See more on treatment for ovarian cancer here