Duke’s nationally ranked cancer experts detect and treat cancer that occurs in the ovaries. Our gynecologic oncologists are specialists in treating women with cancers that affect their reproductive system. We understand the impact ovarian cancer has on your fertility, sexual function, psychological health and your family. We draw upon the latest research findings and our ongoing clinical trials to ensure your ovarian cancer is found early, and create the most effective treatment plan for the stage and type of your ovarian cancer.
Gynecologic specialists in ovarian cancer
Many concerns may run through your mind if you suspect you have ovarian cancer. Having a gynecologic oncologist as part of your medical team ensures you receive the best care available. Our gynecologic oncologists — obstetricians/gynecologists (OB-GYNs) who complete additional years of training in cancers of the female reproductive system — work with women with gynecologic cancers every day.
We take your age, health, desire to have children, and the size and stage of your ovarian cancer into consideration when recommending treatment options. We use our training and experience to tailor treatment options to minimize the impact on your fertility and sexuality. If surgery is needed, we have the expertise to perform complex procedures on the reproductive system. Our goal is to detect ovarian cancer early, tailor your treatment, and increase your chances for a positive, long-term outcome.
Choose Duke for your ovarian cancer treatment because we offer:
- Nationally ranked cancer program. We are consistently ranked among the best cancer programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our uterine cancer team is recognized for exploring new therapies through ongoing clinical trials. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving care for our patients.
- Access to our clinical trials. You may be eligible to participate in our ongoing clinical trials, which explore new therapies including chemotherapy drugs that slow or kill cancer cells, immunotherapy drugs that boost your body’s ability to fight cancer, and biologic therapies that block your body's ability grow cancer cells.
- Specialists in female reproductive system cancers. Studies show significant survival benefits exist when women with reproductive system cancers are cared for by gynecologic oncologists.
- Fertility services for cancer survivors. If you are concerned about the impact of treatment on your fertility, experts at the Duke Fertility Center will work closely with you to discuss fertility preservation treatments, which may include egg freezing, tissue banking, and experimental options that are available through our ongoing clinical trials.
- Hereditary cancer clinic. The genetic counselors in our hereditary cancer clinic work with you if your family history puts you at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. We also screen for the presence of genes, including BRCA1 and/or BRCA2, that may increase your risk of of developing ovarian cancer.
- Convenient appointments. We schedule your appointments quickly and try to coordinate your visit to be as efficient as possible. This means scheduling time with your ovarian cancer team and arranging any necessary imaging and lab work in one convenient location, often during your first visit.
- Comfortable, caring environment. Our new Duke Cancer Center features a resource center for patients, spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and a rooftop garden area where patients — based on their treatment regimen — can receive chemotherapy outdoors.
- Support for you and your family. Our comprehensive cancer support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment.
Often the primary treatment for ovarian cancer. The extent of surgery will depend on your stage and type of cancer. Your surgeon may remove the cancer, ovary or ovaries, and possibly lymph nodes if the cancer has spread. When possible, your surgeon will try to preserve fertility by removing only one ovary and leaving your uterus.
Surgical removal of larger, more advanced cancer through the abdomen. May include removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes and nearby lymph nodes. When cancer has spread to surrounding organs, such as the colon, they may also be removed. Our gynecologic oncologists are specially trained to perform this procedure, which reduces the likelihood that you will need repeat surgeries.
Kills ovarian cancer cells that may remain after surgery. Concentrated chemotherapy is administered directly to the abdominal cavity through a catheter or port inserted through your abdomen.
High energy beams are rarely used to kill ovarian cancer cells, and may also be used to relieve pain and discomfort caused by ovarian cancer.
Performed to feel for masses in the ovaries, vaginal area, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and rectum.
Checks levels of CA 125, a protein made by ovarian cancer cells.
Transvaginal ultrasound, X-ray, CT and MRI scans may be used to create high-quality images of your uterus and surrounding organs. Used to pinpoint the location of your tumor and whether it has spread.
Removes a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. Tissue may be removed through a small, lighted tube called a laparoscope, or during surgery.
Takes detailed images of the inside of the body to reveal abnormal areas or changes.