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In most hospitals a team of specialists will talk to you about the treatment they feel is best for your situation. This multidisciplinary team (MDT) will include:
It may also include other healthcare professionals, such as a dietitian, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, social worker, psychologist or counsellor. Women with ovarian cancer should be treated by a specialist gynaecological cancer team. These teams are based in larger cancer centres, so you may have to travel for your treatment.
The MDT will plan your treatment by taking into consideration a number of factors. These will include your age, general health, how well your kidneys are working, the type and size of the tumour, what it looks like under the microscope and whether it has spread beyond the ovary (the stage|).
Many people are frightened at the idea of having cancer treatments, particularly because of the side effects that can occur. However, these can usually be controlled with medicines.
Treatment can be given for different reasons and the potential benefits will vary depending upon your individual situation. In people with early-stage ovarian cancer, surgery is often done with the aim of curing the cancer. You may also be given additional treatments to reduce the risk of it coming back.
If the cancer is at a more advanced stage, the treatment may only be able to control it, improving symptoms and quality of life. However, for some people in this situation the treatment will have no effect upon the cancer and they will get the side effects without any of the benefit.
If you’ve been offered treatment that aims to cure your cancer, deciding whether to accept it may not be difficult. However, if a cure is not possible and the purpose of treatment is to control the cancer for a period of time, it may be more difficult to decide whether to go ahead.
Making decisions about treatment in these circumstances is always difficult, and you may need to discuss in detail with your doctor whether you wish to have treatment. If you choose not to have it, you can still be given supportive (palliative) care, with medicines to control any symptoms.
For more on planning your treatment, you might find it helpful to read our information on:
Content last reviewed: 1 February 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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