When a woman is told she has ovarian cancer, her first thought is usually fear. This is primarily because we don’t always talk about it. This is the cancer where we don’t see so many runs, walks and ribbons adorning the food we buy and the events we attend.
Ovarian cancer is not pink. It’s teal.
When we look at breast cancer, we see strides in survival. Progress. It’s important to remember that we’ve also seen that in ovarian cancer.
How is ovarian cancer treated? With both surgery and chemotherapy. While early stage cancers and certain types of ovarian cancer may require no chemotherapy at all, it’s generally a combination of the two. We use surgery to remove the big disease, allowing chemotherapy to work better on the smaller disease.
What is new in treatment? There have been incredible advances in the last 20 years. We have fine-tuned complex surgeries to remove tumors. We have robotics and laparoscopy, which make it possible for us to perform surgery through small incisions. We have special tools that allow us to do more with less complications. We are also able to better treat cancer with chemotherapy, when needed. Our options for top-of-the-line care have expanded.
My role as a gynecologic oncologist is to help women through this difficult process. I work as a guide to navigate the role of surgery, chemotherapy, and sometimes even radiation or localized treatments with other specialties.
It’s truly an honor and privilege to help my patients. I’m pleased to share there is hope with ovarian cancer.
To learn more about gynecologic oncology at the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center, please visit TMH.ORG/Cancer.