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Ovarian Cancer Chemotherapy  

Ovarian cancer is a form of the disease which strikes women at a rate of over 20,000 new cases every year in the US.  It is a very serious disease but one which has a number of treatment options.  Let’s discuss one important type of treatment which is called ovarian cancer chemotherapy. 

Chemotherapy involves the application of special drugs to the body which are designed to kill cancer cells.  One of the most common methods of treatment for ovarian cancer is surgical removal of the cancerous tissue.  However chemotherapy can be useful when the cancer has to more advanced stages and has now affected more than just the ovary. 

In this case it would be difficult to perform surgical procedures to identify and remove all traces of the cancer.  Surgeons would most likely try to remove as much cancerous tissue as possible.  But the chemotherapy would then be used to kill the remaining cancer cells. 

In implementing ovarian cancer chemotherapy, the drugs used may be administered orally or intravenously.  These drugs travel through the body and eventually find the cancer cells and destroy them.  This is because the drugs are designed to react with cells which grow very rapidly.  Cancer cells duplicate and grow much faster than most normal cells.  However other healthy cells like hair cells and those cells which line the stomach also tend to show very rapid growth.  So the anti-drugs not only affect the cancer cells but they can also kill healthy cells which grow very rapidly. 

This can cause a number of important side effects from this type of treatment.  During the course of a chemotherapy treatment, patients may lose their hair.  Other common complaints include nausea, diarrhea, cramping and pain, and fatigue.  These side effects can sometimes be very severe and must be managed carefully. 

A course of treatment from chemotherapy may involve the regular application of these drugs over a period of time.  This allows the body to recover from the damage inflicted from these drugs. 

The manner in which the drugs are administered to the body has seen some improvements in recent years.  One option is to deliver the drugs directly into the abdominal cavity using a thin tube.  Rather than coursing through the entire body, the drugs can get immediate access the cancer cells and minimize the impact to nearby healthy cells. 

And there have been a number of new anti-cancer drugs used which do a better job of choosing to attack primarily cancer cells and leaving the healthy cells alone.  This allows doctors to administer much higher dosages of this special medication without the risk of affecting healthy nearby tissue.  The treatments therefore can be much more effective. 

It should also be noted that there are certain kinds of cancer which are difficult to kill and which can return in a few years following initial treatment.  In this case the ovarian cancer chemotherapy may be used to combat the threat of the new cancer and keep it from progressing.