If Ovarian Cancer Returns
A recurrence is when cancer returns after a period of time during which the cancer could not be detected. The cancer may come back to the same place as the original tumor or to another place in the body. Between 70 percent and 90 percent of patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer will have a recurrence. The chances of remission decrease as drugs are changed. However, the side effects continue to increase with each new drug.
The effectiveness and type of available treatment for recurrent ovarian cancer depends on what kind of chemotherapy the patient received in the past, the side effects associated with previous treatments, the length of time since finishing the previous treatment and the extent of the recurrent cancer.
Many times chemotherapy is used to stop the progression of the cancer and prolong the patients survival. Surgery is sometimes used to relieve symptoms, such as a blocked bowel, caused by the recurrence.
A woman, in consultation with her doctor, should set realistic goals for what to expect from her treatment. Many times this means weighing the possible limited benefit of the new treatment against the possible down side of it.
At some point a woman may decide that continuing treatment is unlikely to improve her health or survival. A woman must be certain that no matter her decision, she is comfortable with it.
One of the factors in determining a patients risk of recurrence is the stage of the cancer at diagnosis.
Patients diagnosed in stage I have a 10 percent chance of recurrence.
Patients diagnosed in stage II have a 30 percent chance of recurrence.
Patients diagnosed in stage III have a 70 percent to 90 percent chance of recurrence.
Patients diagnosed in stage IV have a 90 percent to 95 percent chance of recurrence.