Treatment for ovarian cancer

There are many different types of treatment for ovarian cancer. Your treatment will depend on you and your cancer.

Treatment for ovarian cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer, your medical history and your individual treatment preferences.

Some common types of treatments offered include:


Often the first stage in treatment for ovarian cancer, and enables a biopsy to be taken to determine the type of cancer and future treatment options. Depending on the stage of the cancer there are two types of surgery:

  • For early ovarian cancer keyhole surgery called laparoscopy may be used, which involves small incisions in the abdomen to insert a tube with a camera on it, which can allow for surgical removal of tissue.
  • For more advanced cancer a laparotomy may be required, which involves an incision from the pubic bone to the belly button to remove affected tissue and organs. 10


Drugs given to destroy cancer cells, however they can also attack healthy cells also, resulting in side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue and hair loss. Chemotherapy can be given in a number of ways such as orally (i.e. pills) or via an injection. Treatment is often given a number of times over a set period of time. 2

Hormone therapy

Uses hormones or drugs to prevent the oestrogen hormone from assisting in the growth of cancer cells in the ovarian tissue. This type of therapy is mainly used in stromal tumours. 1 There are two types of hormone therapies: one stops production of hormones that encourage cancer cell growth, and the other impacts how the hormones interact in the body.

Targeted therapy

A specialised form of therapy that targets only cancer cells, leaving healthy cells intact. There are a couple of medications that are used to treat ovarian cancer cells, which aim to inhibit (stop) cancer cells from repairing themselves when they get damaged.1


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