Treatment of ovarian cancer requires a surgical procedure with 3 main goals:
- To appropriately stage or classify the cancer
- To adequately remove all cancerous tissue
- To proactively monitor the progression of the disease after the cancerous tissue is removed
Studies show that when these surgeries are completed by a gynecologic oncologist, patients have better outcomes compared to those treated by a gynecologist or general surgeon.3,9
Staging cancer is important because identifying how far the disease has progressed helps to ensure the right treatment path is chosen. There are 4 main stages of ovarian cancer
Stage I - Cancer is limited to one or both ovaries.
Stage II - Cancer has extended beyond the ovaries to other areas of the pelvis (uterus, fallopian tubes, bladder, or rectum).
Stage III - Cancer has spread beyond the ovaries and pelvis to the lining of the abdomen and/or lymph nodes.
Stage IV - Cancer has spread to the liver, lungs, and/or the fluid around the lungs.
Depending on the stage and type of ovarian cancer, additional treatment in the form of chemotherapy is usually advised. Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. These drugs travel in the bloodstream and are transported to areas of the body where cancer may have spread. It is given on average for 6 months, after which time careful follow-up is necessary.
The CA 125™ test has been considered the gold standard in the management of ovarian cancer for many years, and its use helps physicians to more effectively manage patients with this disease in conjunction with standard clinical procedures. CA125 helps physicians to determine how women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are responding to chemotherapy. It is also used to identify recurrence of the disease.
Currently physician guidelines recommend monitoring and follow up with CA125 at each visit if a patient had elevated CA 125 levels during chemotherapy and after treatment. The CA125 value is used to indicate how the patient is responding to therapy and whether the disease is progressing.