How are ovarian cancer and fallopian tube cancer treated?
Every patient at Miami Cancer Institute receives a personalized treatment plan put together by our team of gynecologic oncologists. Gynecologic oncologists at Miami Cancer Institute also work closely with experts in our next-generation genomic sequencing laboratory to help pinpoint your exact type of tumor and the most effective way to treat the cancer.
Our philosophy is to find the plan that not only treats the cancer, but also fits you as a patient. Your team will consider your specific diagnosis and type of tumor, the stage of disease, size and location of tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. We also work closely with physical therapists, nurses, nutritionists and psychosocial experts to ensure we address any potential side effects of treatment.
Surgery is often used as the first line of treatment for ovarian and fallopian tube cancers. The type of surgery used depends on the size and stage of the tumor, as well as your overall health and whether you plan to have children in the future.
During surgery, your doctor will remove the tumor and may also remove surrounding tissues, organs and lymph nodes. In some cases, ovarian or fallopian tube cancer can be treated with minimally invasive or robotic surgeries. As leaders in gynecologic cancer surgery, Miami Cancer Institute has one of the largest minimally invasive gynecologic surgical programs in the region. The Institute also holds a designation as a center of excellence in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery by the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL).
Miami Cancer Institute also takes a multi-specialty approach to gynecologic surgeries, and your care team will collaborate with surgery specialists from different treatment areas to help create a comprehensive care plan for you.
Surgery to treat ovarian or fallopian tube cancer may include:
- Laparotomy - This is an open surgery that involves making a large incision in the abdomen and removing tumors and surrounding tissue.
- Robotic surgery - During this procedure, the surgeon will use finger and foot controls to guide a robot in removing the tumor and surrounding tissue. Miami Cancer Institute gynecologic oncologists specialize in this type of surgical treatment.
- Debulking (cytoreduction) - This procedure is usually used if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Your surgeon will remove as much cancerous tissue as possible, which may include removing the ovaries, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, bowel, spleen, parts of the bowel or parts of the liver. This procedure may help increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
- Laparoscopic surgery - This minimally-invasive technique is used to remove early-stage tumors or to assess the extent of the disease. It may also be used to remove ovaries, fallopian tubes, lymph nodes or other nearby tissue.
- Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC, involves bathing the abdominal cavity with heated chemotherapy drugs after surgeons have removed all tumors.
After surgery, our experts will help you through enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS), a nationally recognized recovery method that allows patients to heal faster with less pain. This method, which avoids the use of narcotics, involves a cross-team approach between your nurses and anesthesiologists.
In some cases, your care team may decide to combine surgery with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy treatments may be given intravenously, orally, or through intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which delivers the chemotherapy drugs directly to the lining of the lower abdomen (peritoneum).
Targeted therapy may also be used to treat your cancer. Targeted therapies target your specific type of tumor. Our next-generation Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, part of the Center for Genomic Medicine, will pinpoint your exact type of tumor and the most effective way to treat the cancer.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care. Stem cell transplantation experts and hematologic oncology experts are also available to discuss complex cases.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
Patient Support Services
Taking care of the whole patient is an important component of providing personalized cancer care. Integrated into the fabric of the Miami Cancer Institute, the Cancer Patient Support Center addresses the psychological, physical, social and spiritual needs of our patients during cancer treatment and beyond.