Ovarian Germ Cell Cancer
Radiation Therapy for Ovarian Germ Cell Cancer
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells.
There are two types of radiation therapy:
- External radiation
- Internal radiation.
External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer.
The way the radiation therapy is given will depend on the type and stage of the cancer that is being treated. Some women receive a treatment called intraperitoneal radiation therapy, in which radioactive liquid is put directly into the abdomen through a catheter (a small, narrow tube).
Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, some patients may be offered chemotherapy or radiation after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment that is given after the surgery to increase the chances of a cure is called adjuvant therapy.
Following radiation or chemotherapy, an operation called a second-look laparotomy is sometimes performed. This is similar to the laparotomy that is done to determine the stage of the cancer. During the second-look operation, the doctor will take samples of lymph nodes and other tissues in the abdomen to see if any cancer is left.
Before starting treatment for ovarian germ cell cancer, patients may want to consider taking part in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a research study that is meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new ovarian germ cell cancer treatment is better than the current standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.