Our team of hundreds of leading cancer physicians and oncology-trained support staff is a trusted partner in returning patients with cancer to good health.
At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our gynecologic cancer experts have unmatched expertise in treating patients with ovarian cancer. We are passionate about fighting this challenging disease with the latest treatment strategies tailored to each patient.
As the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in North Texas, we deliver the best cancer care available today and push to discover new treatments. NCI designation means we offer patients the ability to participate in the broadest possible range of clinical trials, with access to potential therapies not available at other facilities.
Compassionate Care That Centers On Our Patients
Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries, which are organs within a woman’s reproductive system. A woman has two ovaries, located on either side of the uterus. Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond.
UT Southwestern’s ovarian cancer team brings together highly trained specialists who are dedicated to their field. We provide advanced, compassionate, patient-centered care in a convenient, comfortable setting.
For patients with ovarian cancer, our specialists are partners in care, helping patients through every stage of their diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.
Within our clinic, patients benefit from the expertise of gynecologic and radiation oncologists, geneticists, pathologists, dietitians, psychologists, and dedicated support staff, all in one convenient location. We are here to help patients through their cancer journey with compassion and personalized care.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Ovarian cancer can be difficult to detect early because patients might have no symptoms or mild symptoms that are mistaken for other issues until the disease has progressed. Common symptoms include:
- A heavy feeling in the pelvis
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
- Changes in appetite or weight gain or loss
- Abnormal periods
- Pressure or pain in the pelvis or lower back
- Gas, nausea, or vomiting
- Tiredness or low energy
Because there is not one particular screening test to catch ovarian cancer, patients should tell their doctor if they are experiencing any of these symptoms. The doctor will perform a physical exam and take a medical history. If he or she suspects ovarian cancer, patients will be referred to a gynecologic cancer expert at UT Southwestern.
We use advanced technologies and techniques to diagnose ovarian cancer. These can include:
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- X-ray with barium enema
- Blood tests
Some ovarian cancers are hereditary. Women who have ovarian cancer in their families might be considered at high risk for the disease. They should speak with their doctor about genetic counseling and testing.
Treatment for Ovarian Cancer
We offer a variety of treatment options for patients with ovarian cancer. A patient’s personalized care plan will depend on several factors, such as overall health, the characteristics and stage of the cancer, and individual preferences and goals. For example, we offer fertility-preserving treatment options for women who plan to have children.
If surgery is in a patient’s treatment plan, our surgical procedures for ovarian cancer include:
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which removes both ovaries and both fallopian tubes
- Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which removes one ovary and one fallopian tube
- Radical hysterectomy, which might include removal of the ovaries
In many cases, we are able to perform minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgeries, which use smaller incisions, leave smaller scars, and require less recovery time.
Our options for medical treatment include:
- Chemotherapy, which is usually used following surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. We offer intraperitoneal chemotherapy, a highly targeted treatment technique that allows our oncologists to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly into the abdominal cavity through a catheter, minimizing drug exposure to healthy tissues.
- Hormone therapy, which uses hormones to treat and prevent recurrences of ovarian cancer
- Immunotherapy, which stimulates the immune system to help the body fight off cancer
We also offer support services for patients and their families, such as:
- Genetic counseling for women who think they could be at risk for ovarian cancer because of their health or family history
- Lifestyle education
- Lymphedema therapy
- Nutrition counseling
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Support groups for patients and their families
As an academic medical center, UT Southwestern regularly conducts gynecologic cancer-related clinical trials. These research studies give our patients access to the latest medical and surgical treatments. Patients should speak with their doctor if they are interested in a clinical trial.