What is included in palliative care for ovarian cancer?

Updated: Aug 10, 2020
  • Author: Andrew E Green, MD; Chief Editor: Yukio Sonoda, MD  more...
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When potentially curative treatment options are unavailable or are ineffective, the clinical goal changes from cure to palliation.

Recurrent ovarian cancer is seldom curable. Second-line, third-line, or even fourth-line chemotherapy is often administered in a palliative fashion, both to diminish symptoms and to prolong life. When chemotherapy is considered for patients with good performance status, it is most appropriate to offer enrollment in formal clinical studies such as those coordinated by the Gynecologic Oncology Group. When chemotherapeutic options are exhausted or the adverse effects are not worth the small potential for benefit, other means of palliating symptoms of progressive ovarian cancer are necessary.

Ovarian cancer spreads regionally in the form of scattered deposits of tumor on all surfaces in the peritoneal cavity. Morbidity and mortality as a direct result of this process are far more common than symptoms related to recurrence, specifically at the primary tumor site or in distant extra-abdominal sites.

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