This was originally published on Lab Tests Online here.
When abnormalities are found and ovarian cancer is suspected, a surgical biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis. If cancer is found, surgery to remove the cancerous tissue is performed (oophorectomy). Depending on the stage of the disease, additional tissues may have to be removed. One of four stages of cancer is identified depending on the spread of the tumor. They are:
- Stage 1 – cancer is confined to one or both ovaries (about 20% of ovarian cancers diagnosed with best prognostic outcomes)
- Stage 2 – cancer has spread to the uterus and/or fallopian tubes
- Stage 3 – cancer has spread to the abdomen lining or surrounding lymph nodes (most common stage seen at time of diagnosis)
- Stage 4 – cancer has spread to other organs beyond the abdomen
Follow-up treatment usually involves chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy, sometimes radiation treatments, and monitoring of CA-125, AFP, or hCG for response to treatment and recurrence.
Ovarian cancer treatment is constantly evolving. New drugs, immunotherapies, gene therapies, and bone marrow transplants are being studied for their effectiveness. A woman’s healthcare provider and/or cancer team can help determine the treatment course that is right for her.