Chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer

Chemotherapy is often an important form of treatment for ovarian cancer. The recommended regimen for a patient can vary based on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer and the patient’s overall health and preferences. Many patients with ovarian cancer receive a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. During surgery, a surgeon will attempt to remove (debulk) all visible tumors. Chemo may be administered prior to surgery to attempt to shrink the tumors, making them easier to remove, or it may be provided after surgery to attempt to destroy any cancerous cells that remain in the patient’s body.

There are several standard chemotherapy drugs that are used for treating cancer of the ovaries. Typically, a physician will recommend a combination of a platinum-based drug, such as carboplatin or cisplatin, and a taxane, such as paclitaxel or docetaxel.

Chemotherapy for ovarian cancer is usually administered systemically, which means the drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body to address cancer cells that have spread via the lymphatic system. Systemic chemo drugs can be:

  • Given by mouth in pill, capsule or liquid form
  • Injected into a vein
  • Delivered via a thin tube (catheter) into the abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal chemo)

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a multispecialty approach to ovarian cancer treatment that provides each patient with convenient access to several experts – including gynecologic oncologists, pathologists, plastic surgeons, radiologists, radiation oncologists, reproductive endocrinologists and supportive care providers – instead of a single physician. Every week, this experienced tumor board meets to review and discuss each patient’s progress, modify her treatment plan, if necessary, and help her manage any side effects.

The latest options in chemotherapy for ovarian cancer are available at all Moffitt locations. If you’d like to learn more, we provide consultations with or without referrals. Call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete a new patient registration form online.