What type of chemo is given for ovarian cancer?

5 answers | Last updated: Oct 22, 2016
Snowflower1 asked...

I have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I have had a full hysterectomy and I'm off to see the oncologist today. I may still need chemo as the cancer had ruptured and they want to make sure they have got all of it. What sort of chemo will I be offered and is there a chance the cancer may have already spread to other areas in my body? The reason I ask is I am having trouble with my bowels and have had this for some time now. They don't work too well and when I do manage to go there is a lot of mucous there.

Expert Answers

Harvey Gilbert, MD, is a radiation oncologist with more than 35 years of professional experience in the medical field, working with cancer patients. He has edited 14 medical textbooks and coauthored 40 papers in the field of oncology. Dr. Gilbert is the medical director of the Ben Schaffer Cancer Institute in Lodi, California.

Ovarian cancer tends to spread widely within the abdomen. When it attaches to the covering of the bowel, it tends to exude fluid called ascites. That can cause bloating and bowel disfunction. Another issue affecting the bowel might be actual blockage of the bowel contents or inflammation of the bowel causing mucus production. Also, there is the possibility of post operative adhesions blocking the flow of bowel contents. A belly Xray or CT of the abdomen may help.

Chemotherapy is usually worthwhile, especially after tumor rupture and contamination of the coverings of the bowel. You will need to monitor your bowel function and take plenty of fiber and bacterial cultures such as Yogurt with live cultures. You may need to have a colonoscopy to rule out blockage or tumor as well as the source of inflammation and mucus. But again, chemotherapy with one of several successful published drug programs using groups of drugs is indicated in most patients with what you describe.

Community Answers

Birdnight answered...

To snowflower It will depend on what your Doctor prescribes..I can relate my own experience if it be of any help..I was DX last oct the 27th.. After consult with Drs. it was determined that i have surgery on 11/12.. due to amount of cancer cells and size of tumor.. they sewed me back up.. SInce then, i have had 6 chemo treatments at 3 week intervals.I am going back to surgery next week for a complete hysterectomy. I will add that as of now my prognosis is good. There is No evidence of disease.This is the usual standard of care.I am in agreement with the Doc.. lest there be any rogue cells still present.I do know that i could have a reoccurence at any time.Praying that i will beat the odds , but well aware of the cancer's return.To answer your question, i was given Carboplatin and Taxol..along with the anti nausea meds and anti allergy one .. benedryl..Usually took over 4hours total..each time .next day i had to return for nuelasta shot..to increase white blood cell count.This caused some bone pain for several days.Follow ups for Blood counts etc a week later. Hope this helps.. although each case is different and it will be up to your Doctor.btw the Dr who responded had a lot of good information as well.I even learned some stuff. Susan aka birdnighter

Angel2 answered...

Dear Snowflower1: Thoughts and prayers are with you. In 2002 I had endometial cancer. Turns out cancer had eaten 2/3 way thru upper part of my uterus and metastasized to the right ovary and attached to the outside of it. My Pap smear came back completely normal. D&C gave Dx of aggressive type cancer and dr said I saved my own life by checking it out sooner rather than later. Hysterectomy (Lymph nodes were clear) was followed by radiation and chemo given together. Radiation daily Mon-Fri and chemo weekly (4 hr). I think I had about 6-7 of the eight chemo sessions and about 2 mos. of radiation including 2 wks off because of some side effects. When radiation was comlete, my chemo was doubled, but given every 3 weeks then. During surgery they also extensively examined my bowel, finding no cancer there but there were cancer cells in the washing of my abdomen. My Gyn and a Gyn Oncologist did my surgery. Re Chemo: I was given Carboplaten and Taxol and a pre-infusion cocktail to prevent nausea and allergic reaction. I slept a lot during chemo infusions; never seemed to be able to read my book. I had frequent drs appts/blood tests, pelvic exams & had CT scans of abdomen & pelvis for five years. My radiologist discharged me a year early because I was doing so well. By choice, I still see oncologist for blood work every 6 mos. I keep up with colonoscopies (every 5 yrs-my mother had polyps). In July will be 8 years survival for me and I thank God every day for my drs and treatment plan. Supported by loving family and church (who provided meals 3x week and one special friend did my laundry for 2 yrs). I pray you have wonderful recovery. Don't be shy about telling people how they can help you when they offer; otherwise it will probably be "call if you need anything" which you may not do. Being honest, I was 59 when this happened and I still have my challenges with energy and concentration (often referred to as "fog" or "chemo brain". It can be very real and hope if you have it, it will be minor. My husband has been handicapped since 1965 with a brain injury, so I did not always have my own "down time" but I made it!I am so blessed and I will pray for you and all others with this disease. I also participatd in a clinical study; samples of my tumor not used in biopsy were donated so they could do research to find medicines to fight this particular kind of cancer. Stay positive - I became a prayer warrior. My very best wishes as you recover. Also I was put on an antidepressant and am still taking it. This is not unusual happening with a diagnosis like this. Blessings.

Snowflower1 answered...

just want to say a big thanks to everyone who has answered my post, i feel im not alone.i have now had my appointment with the oncologyst.he has decided that i will recieve 18 weeks of chemo. i will have carboplatin and taxr plus the ant sick drugs and the allergy drug. this will given intraveniously every three weeks. i will take around 5 hours to administer. he has told me of the side effects and i must be honest and say im a little fearful. i have a strong faith and good people around me. Thanks to everyone who has shared their experiance with me. x

Angel2 answered...

snowflower1: It is normal to be have fears about such serious medical issues and the unknown. If you weren't a little fearful, I would think you didn't fully understand the situation you are in. I remember dreading chemo and that I didn't sleep at all the night before my first treatment. I didn't really know much about it, I think I was too shocked to ask many questions. I asked for a copy of my bloodwork each time so I could compare them myself. Take part in your treatment as much are you are able. Helps you to have a litle control in a world that seems to be spinning. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Ask away. We could bring snacks, books, etc.; sometimes a friend or my husband would come to the treatment room to be with me; I took one of my favorite throws to wrap up in. The treatment chairs recline, so you can be very comfortable. The IV pole can go with along with you if you need the restroom, and all oncology nurses are wonderful. You will meet some remarkable people. There was a TV and videos to watch, but I usually fell asleep. You will have blood drawn before each treatment; blood pressure taken and you will be weighed before you see the doctor for the ok for the chemo that day. When my weight dropped too much, I took a supplememnt for people with cancer-indused weight loss; Keep your chin up, my darling. It will all work out. Best regards.