Surgery is often the treatment of choice for women with ovarian cancer. The goal of surgery is to confirm the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, to determine the extent of spread of the cancer, and to remove all of the cancer. Women with an ovarian cancer that appears to be defined to the ovary undergo a procedure called staging that is designed to detect microscopic spread of the cancer beyond the ovary. For those women with cancer that has spread beyond the ovary, surgical treatment is a procedure known as cytoreduction or debulking.
Women with ovarian cancer should undergo surgery by a gynecologic oncologist. Gynecologic oncologists are physicians who have received extended training in the surgical management of ovarian cancer and have expertise in both staging and debulking procedures. The gynecologic oncologists at Columbia University all have extensive experience with advanced surgical procedures for ovarian cancer. To provide the comprehensive care required to successfully undertake these procedures, we have developed the Center for Advanced Gynecologic and Pelvic Surgery at Columbia University. This center brings together world renowned specialists from a variety of disciplines to undertake the most complex pelvic operations as a team.