Ovarian Cancer: Recurrence

For women with ovarian cancer the cancer may return after primary treatment, this is known as a recurrence. Although the cancer can recur anywhere, it most commonly recurs in the abdominal cavity. Typically, symptoms of recurrence are abdominal pain, bloating, nausea or vomiting, or changes in bowel or bladder habits. If you experience these symptoms it is important that you communicate this to your gynecologic oncology team.

There are a number of different treatment options for recurrent ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for recurrent ovarian cancer. A wide variety of effective chemotherapy drugs are available. These drugs may be administered alone or in combination and for varying amounts of time.

Some women with recurrent ovarian cancer are candidates for secondary surgery. Those women who undergo surgery are typically treated after surgery with additional chemotherapy. Other less commonly used, but effective treatments, for recurrent ovarian cancer include hormonal therapy and radiation. Ovarian cancer may be sensitive to hormonal treatments and this may be an option for some women with ovarian cancer.