Dialog Box


A guide of what to expect with ovarian cancer surgery.

Surgery is the main treatment for ovarian cancer and is used to:

  • Confirm the diagnosis of ovarian cancer
  • Work out what type of ovarian cancer it is
  • Work out the stage and grade of the cancer
  • Remove as much of the cancer as possible

The type of operation you have will depend on the stage of your cancer, which may not be known until the surgery begins. This means many women will go into the operation not exactly sure of what is going to be done. This can be worrying. But your surgeon (gynaecological oncologist) will have explained all the possible options to you before your operation. Ask your surgeon to tell you what the surgery will involve and what the different options may be once they know the stage of your cancer.

Your surgeon will also explain the possible risks and side effects of surgery. This may include a discussion about infertility. This can be very difficult for women who still want to have children. If this is the case, ask your doctor to refer you to a fertility specialist.

There is information about infertility and fertility preservation the Finding Out chapter in our Resilience Kit. To read more about fertility-sparing surgery, see the ‘Younger women’ section in the same chapter.

Watch Jan and Dianne’s experience of recovering from surgery