More than 20,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Most of these women are over 55 years old.
Ovarian cancer forms in the tissues of the ovary. It begins either as an ovarian epithelial carcinoma (cancer on the surface of the ovary) or malignant germ cell tumors (cancer in the egg cells).
Christopher P. Crum, MD, Division Chief of Women’s and Perinatal Pathology, discusses ovarian cancer risk, steps that can be taken to reduce ovarian cancer risk and techniques for detecting ovarian cancer at earlier stages of the disease. Read the video transcript about recognizing risk factors for prevention and early detection of ovarian cancer.
Doctors and other caregivers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) will work closely with you and your family to develop a treatment plan suited to your situation. As well as providing specialized medical care, we offer a range of supportive services, including nutritional counseling, emotional and spiritual support, financial advice, and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and massage.
There are three categories of standard treatment for patients with ovarian cancer.
Surgery is sometimes used to treat (remove) ovarian cancer. Some of the more common surgical procedures include:
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells, shrink cancer cells, and/or decrease their ability to divide. The two main radiation therapy approaches used at DF/BWCC are external radiation therapy (external beam therapy), which beams radiation directly to the cancer cells, and internal radiation therapy (implant therapy), which involves the implantation of pellets that emit radiation.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells, shrink cancer cells, and decrease their ability to divide. When drugs are taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle (systemic chemotherapy), the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body. For regional chemotherapy, the drugs are placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity to target specific areas of the body. During intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy, a type of regional chemotherapy sometimes used to treat ovarian cancer, drugs are delivered directly into the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity.
Clinical trials are also available at DF/BWCC. These research studies are designed to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. Talk to your physician if you’re interested in taking part in a clinical trial.
Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) is devoted to helping people fight cancer by offering the most advanced treatment with compassion and care. We care for adult patients in 12 specialized centers, each devoted to a different type of cancer.
Part of our commitment to conquering cancer is developing new ways to prevent and screen for cancer, as well as developing new therapies. Milestones include:
Patient- and Family-focused Care
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has long been committed to not only the care of our patients but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care - involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – is a guiding force behind the care we provide at DF/BWCC.
Quality of Patient Care
BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and following established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients' to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and where we could improve. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we compare with other hospitals.
Our Center features a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgeons, physicists, radiologists, interventional radiologists, endoscopists, pathologists, specialized nursing staff, dietitians, physical therapists, and social workers who use a patient-focused approach to deliver the most effective treatment for each patient. Meet our gynecologic cancer team.
If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our gynecologic cancer experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs, or fill out an online appointment request form.
Find an expert DF/BWCC gynecologic oncologist for innovative cancer treatment and compassionate care.
Learn how quality and patient safety are at the core of Brigham and Women's mission and vision.
For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.