I kept it in the back of my head — this is beatable …. City of Hope is behind me, Dr. Morgan is behind me, and they are going to take care of me. And we are going to beat this. Allisa Miller, ovarian cancer survivor.
Ovarian cancer care at City of Hope means you will be getting the best possible therapies our physicians, care team and technology have to offer. This includes leading-edge treatments, clinical trials and a comprehensive supportive care program addressing your quality of life needs — such as fertility and survivorship issues.
We will answer your questions, calm your concerns and design a personalized treatment plan to give you the best possible outcome.
Request a Consultation
If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, are at a high risk for developing ovarian cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, you may request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-4673 (HOPE). Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.
City of Hope has been named a best hospital for cancer and by U.S. News & World Report for over a decade, and U.S. News has also recognized our gynecology program as a “high performing” on. City of Hope is a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, the highest designation that recognizes our commitment to cancer treatment, research and education. As a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, our doctors also help develop and improve evidence-based ovarian cancer treatment guidelines for patients throughout the country.
September 26, 2016
August 31, 2013
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a disease in which cells of the ovaries divide uncontrollably, invading nearby tissues and possibly spreading to other areas of the body.
There are several types of cancerous ovarian tumors, depending on the type of cell that is affected. The major ones include:
What risk factors are linked to ovarian cancer?
Factors that can elevate risk ovarian cancer risk include:
Research has also shown that a low-fat diet and use of oral or injectable contraceptives may lower ovarian cancer risk. Some studies also show that aspirin and acetaminophen use may lower ovarian cancer risk. However, the results have not been consistent and women should not take these drugs solely for lowering ovarian cancer risk.
Ovarian cancer risk may also be reduced by prophylactic surgeries, such undergoing tubal ligation (severing, blocking or tying off the fallopian tubes), hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) and/or oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries). These methods are typically reserved for women with a greatly elevated risk of developing ovarian cancer, such as BRCA mutation carriers.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
Common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
Although these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, you should check with your doctor to get a definitive diagnosis.
Sources: National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society
Precise ovarian cancer tests are crucial for treatment planning, and City of Hope is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and specialized staff to ensure an accurate, comprehensive diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
Highlights of our screening and diagnosis services include:
Many of these tests are conveniently offered at our Women’s Center.
How is ovarian cancer detected?
Your doctor may use the following tests to look for ovarian cancer:
If cancer is found, additional tests are performed to determine the type and stage of disease. These diagnostic tests include:
Based on the results of these tests, the ovarian cancer is then staged according to its size, number of lymph nodes affected and whether it has spread to nearby or distant organs. Generally, ovarian cancer caught in earlier stages will have better outcomes than those caught in advanced or metastasized stages.
What are the current screening guidelines for ovarian cancer?
There are currently no screening guidelines for ovarian cancer, since no screenings have been shown to lower risk of dying from ovarian cancer for women of average risk. However, your physician may recommend more vigorous monitoring if you are at a high risk of developing this disease, which includes:
For high risk groups, monitoring may include transvaginal ultrasound and/or blood test of ovarian cancer markers, such as the CA-125 protein.
We have many drugs that work for ovarian cancer, and they have gotten so much better over the years … It is a very complex illness, and you need someone who specializes specifically in ovarian cancer to get the best possible treatment. Robert J. Morgan, M.D., Co-director, Gynecological Oncology/Peritoneal Malignancies Program
Your ovarian cancer is every bit as unique as you are, and that is why City of Hope’s ovarian cancer program is focused around you and your loved ones.
This means our physicians will personally consult with you about your disease, treatment options and desired outcomes. Afterward, our multidisciplinary team of specialists will work together to discuss, design and deliver an individual treatment plan to best meet those goals.
Our ovarian cancer treatment highlights include:
Learn more about our ovarian cancer treatment options below:
Surgery is a primary treatment option for most ovarian cancer patients. The extensiveness of the operation depends on the patient’s health and how far the cancer has spread.
In addition to removing as much tumor tissue as possible, surgery is also used to help determine the ovarian cancer’s stage. This information is used to guide future treatments, depending on how early or advanced the disease is.
Our gynecologic oncology team are recognized leaders in surgical approaches to ovarian cancers. Our expertise include:
For patients who have a high ovarian cancer risk (such as BRCA gene mutation carriers), City of Hope also offers risk-reducing surgery (typically a bilateral oophorectomy to remove both ovaries) that can greatly lower a woman’s likelihood of developing ovarian cancer.
Drug therapy may be given to patients to fight ovarian cancer cells throughout the body by killing the cancer cells or stopping their growth and spread. These drugs include:
The drug or drug combination used depends on the type and stage of ovarian cancer, previous treatments used, the patient’s health and overall treatment goals. This personalized medicine approach may be further enhanced by molecular or genetic testing of your cancer, which can help identify treatments that are more effective and with fewer side effects.
City of Hope is a leader in intraperitoneal chemotherapy or hyperthermic intraoperative peritoneal chemotherapy delivery, which allows doctors to deliver a more concentrated dose of cancer-fighting drugs directly into the abdominal cavity, increasing its effectiveness.
In addition to standard drug treatments, patients may also be eligible for new, promising drugs through our clinical trials program.
For hormone-sensitive ovarian cancers — usually ovarian stromal tumors — hormone therapies can fight cancer by blocking the hormones that fuel their growth. For ovarian cancers, these drugs typically block the production or action of estrogen, and may include:
Based on the disease characteristics and patient’s health, City of Hope doctors can prescribe a hormone therapy regimen that is most effective against ovarian cancer while minimizing potential side effects.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be delivered externally using focused beams of energy, or internally, placing an energy emitting substance in or near the tumor site.
City of Hope is a leader in image-driven radiation planning, using computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans to determine tumor size and location. This ensures radiation is accurately delivered to the tumor site, while minimizing exposure to nearby normal tissues.
City of Hope’s renowned physicians and researchers utilize the latest in technology and innovation to treat cancer, coupled with our enduring belief in providing unparalleled compassionate care.
Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
At City of Hope, ovarian cancer clinicians and researchers collaborate extensively to develop and evaluate new therapies for better survival and quality-of-life outcomes. Our patients have access to a wide variety of clinical trials including new chemotherapy and targeted therapies, hormone therapies, novel surgical techniques, innovative radiation approaches and new prevention strategies.
These trials give current patients access to promising, leading-edge therapies and improve overall care for future patients worldwide. Visit our clinical trials page to learn more about current studies and their eligibility criteria.
Some of our current research projects include:
City of Hope is a recognized leader in ovarian cancer research. We offer access to numerous clinical trials and new therapies that are not readily available elsewhere. Our latest research includes developing more precise surgical and radiation techniques for better tumor removal, identifying drugs that can better fight the cancer throughout the body and boosting quality of life for our patients and survivors.
Browse through some of our clinical trials and research projects here.
When you see how many people are touched by City of Hope, it’s impossible not to find a way to connect to it. Ryan Chavira, ovarian cancer survivor and Walk for Hope participant
When you come to City of Hope, you automatically gain access to an unparalleled array of support services to help you and your loved ones take each step during and after your ovarian cancer treatment.
We can help with all of the following concerns, and more:
For more information about the supportive care programs we offer, please contact the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center at 626-218-2273 (CARE) or the Women’s Center at 800-934-5555.
With her cancer in remission, Ryan has been participating in Walk for Hope each year since, raising awareness, support and hope for cancer patients and survivors nationwide.
Allisa Miller was 29 years old when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Then the mother of a 2-year-old daughter, Miller was determined to fight the disease.