Treatments for ovarian cancer

If you have ovarian cancer, your healthcare team will create a treatment plan just for you. It will be based on your health and specific information about the cancer. When deciding which treatments to offer for ovarian cancer, your healthcare team will consider:

  • stage
  • grade
  • type of tumour
  • whether you want to get pregnant in the future

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Ovarian Cancer. 2014: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003130-pdf.pdf.
  • Cannistra SA, Gershenson DM, Recht A . Ovarian cancer, fallopian tube carcinoma, and peritoneal carcinoma. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 76: 1075-1099.
  • Levine DA, Dizon DS, Yashar CM, Barakat RR, Berchuch A, Markman M, Randall ME. Handbook for Principles and Practice of Gynecologic Oncology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2015.
  • Martin VR, Stewart L . Ovarian cancer. Yarbro CH, Wujcki D, Holmes Gobel B, (eds.). Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning; 2018: 63: 1793-1827.

Treatments for epithelial ovarian cancer

The types of treatments given for epithelial ovarian cancer are based on the stage and the unique needs of the woman.

Treatments for borderline malignancy ovarian tumours

Surgery is the main treatment for borderline malignancy ovarian cancer. Learn about surgery for the different stages.

Treatments for stromal ovarian cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for stromal ovarian cancer. Learn about surgery and other treatments such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy that may be offered with it.

Treatments for germ cell ovarian cancer

The main treatments for germ cell ovarian cancer are surgery and chemotherapy. Learn about surgery and chemotherapy for germ cell ovarian cancer.

Treatments for primary peritoneal carcinoma

Surgery is the first treatment for primary peritoneal carcinoma. Learn about surgery and other treatments that may be offered to treat primary peritoneal carcinoma.

Surgery for ovarian cancer

Surgery is the primary treatment for all types of ovarian cancer. The type of surgery depends mainly on the type of the tumour and stage of the cancer.

Chemotherapy for ovarian cancer

Chemotherapy may be given after surgery for some types of ovarian cancer.

Radiation therapy for ovarian cancer

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. Radiation is rarely used to treat ovarian cancer.

Hormonal therapy for ovarian cancer

Hormonal therapy is a systemic therapy that slows the growth and spread of ovarian cancer cells by changing hormone levels in the body. Drugs, surgery or radiation therapy can be used to change hormone levels.

Targeted therapy for ovarian cancer

Some women with ovarian cancer have targeted therapy. It uses drugs to target specific molecules (such as proteins) on cancer cells or inside them. These molecules help send signals that tell cells to grow or divide. By targeting these molecules, the drugs stop the growth and spread of cancer cells and limit harm to normal cells. Targeted therapy may also be called molecular targeted therapy.

Follow-up after treatment for ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer behaves differently in each woman, and a standard follow-up schedule would not work for everyone. Women with ovarian cancer should talk to their doctor about a follow-up plan that suits their individual situation. Follow-up care is often shared among the cancer specialists (oncologists, surgeon) and your family doctor.