How is stage 4 ovarian cancer treated?
The treatment given to stage 4 ovarian cancer is similar to that of stage 3 ovarian cancer. However, treating stage 4 ovarian cancer is hard at this stage as 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.
Treatment for stage 4 ovarian cancer may include a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy first is usually the first approach, followed by debulking surgery if the patient responds well to chemotherapy. Otherwise, continue chemotherapy with palliative intention.
The treatment that includes operation is a procedure of debulking. The method of debulking consists of the removal of the tumor before chemotherapy.
After surgery, doctors wait for the patient to recover from it. Then, chemotherapy goes on for about a year.
However, the treatment options may change for women who are not healthy enough for surgery. In most cases, they are doctors advise chemotherapy first. If the tumor shrinks in size after the primary three cycles, the operation is done, and then another three cycles of chemo are done.
Palliation aims to improve the patient’s comfort and not fighting against 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. However, the process of paracentesis treats this condition effectively. Here, local anesthesia numbs the skin and the care specialist draws fluid through a needle. 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 even help some live longer.
See more on treatment for ovarian cancer here.