Surgery is an important part of the initial treatment for ovarian cancer, but its role in treating recurrent ovarian cancer is not so clear. When ovarian cancer recurs, it is not usually a single tumour that can be easily removed. Your gynaecological oncologist may consider further surgery if it has been some time since your original surgery, and there is good evidence the new cancer, or a significant part of it, can be removed. Usually, surgery is not an option if it is less than 12 months since your first completed treatment.
All of these are important to consider because they can all influence how well the chemotherapy will work and how well you will cope with side effects. Several different chemotherapy drugs may help you. Your oncologist or specialist nurse can talk to you about their benefits and possible side effects.
Depending on your response to previous chemotherapy, your oncologist may also talk to you about using hormonal therapies such as arimadex, tamoxifen or provera. Hormonal therapies help block or lower the amount of hormones in the body to slow down or stop the growth of cancer. They are sometimes used for women with epithelial ovarian cancers, and more commonly used for women with stromal tumours.