An excellent article in the NY Times. Really very important, since most ovarian cancer is not caught early. Well worth reading the entire piece.
The conclusion: go to a major cancer center for ovarian tumors.
“If we could just make sure that women get to the people who are trained to take care of them, the impact would be much greater than that of any new chemotherapy drug or biological agent,” said Dr. Robert E. Bristow, the director of gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine, and lead author of the new study presented on Monday at a meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in Los Angeles.
The study found that only a little more than a third of patients received the best possible care, confirming a troubling pattern that other studies have also documented.
What works best is meticulous, extensive surgery and aggressive chemotherapy. Ovarian cancer spreads inside the abdomen, and studies have shown that survival improves if women have surgery called debulking, to remove all visible traces of the disease. Taking out as much cancer as possible gives the drugs a better chance of killing whatever is left. The surgery may involve removing the spleen, parts of the intestine, stomach and other organs, as well as the reproductive system.
The operations should be done by gynecologic oncologists, said Dr. Deborah Armstrong of Johns Hopkins University, who is not a surgeon. But many women, she said, are operated on by general surgeons and gynecologists.
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