Ovarian Germ Cell Cancer

How Is It Treated?

Different types of treatments are available for ovarian germ cell cancer. Some treatments are standard, meaning they are the usual treatment for the disease. Others are being tested in clinical trials.
 
Treatment options for ovarian germ cell cancer include:
 
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy.
 
Surgery for Ovarian Germ Cell Cancer
Surgery is the most common treatment for ovarian germ cell cancer. Types of surgery that may be used to remove the cancer include:
 
  • Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: A surgical procedure to remove one ovary and one fallopian tube.
 
  • Total hysterectomy: A surgical procedure to remove the uterus, including the cervix. If the uterus and cervix are taken out through the vagina, the operation is called a vaginal hysterectomy. If the uterus and cervix are taken out through a large incision (cut) in the abdomen, the operation is called a total abdominal hysterectomy. If the uterus and cervix are taken out through a small incision in the abdomen using a laparoscope, the operation is called a total laparoscopic hysterectomy.
 
  • Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: A surgical procedure to remove both ovaries and both fallopian tubes.
 
  • Tumor debulking: A surgical procedure in which as much of the tumor as possible is removed. Some tumors may not be able to be completely removed.
 
Chemotherapy for Ovarian Germ Cell Cancer
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.
 
When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (this is called systemic chemotherapy). When chemotherapy is placed directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (this is called regional chemotherapy). The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
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