When cancer returns after a period of remission, it is considered a recurrence. A cancer recurrence happens because some cancer cells were left behind and eventually grow and become apparent. The cancer may come back to the same place as the original tumor or to another place in the body.
Women with recurrent ovarian cancer may have to undergo another surgery. Because many women with recurrent ovarian cancer receive chemotherapy for a prolonged period of time, sometimes continuously, the toxicities of therapy are a major factor in treatment decisions.
The effectiveness and type of 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. Chemotherapy is used to stop the progression of cancer and prolong the patient’s survival. Sometimes, surgery is used to for a second debulking or to relieve symptoms.
New precision medicine approaches to tumor testing and tumor profiling may be used to determine the best course of chemotherapy treatment in the case of a recurrence. The Clearity Foundation works with ovarian cancer patients to help determine the unique molecular profile of the tumor and discover chemotherapy & clincial trial options.
Many women look into lifestyle changes - including diet, exercise, meditation & stress reduction - and building a healthcare team to address a recurrence. A healthcare team may include a gynecologic oncologist, nutritionist, dietician, naturopath, massage therapist, acupuncturist and oncology mental health counselor.
A woman, in consultation with her doctor, should set realistic goals for what to expect from treatment. This may mean weighing the possible positive outcomes of a new treatment against the possible negative ones. At some point, a woman may decide that continuing traditional treatment is unlikely to improve her health or survival. A woman must be certain that she is comfortable with her decision whatever it is.
Source: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance