Dr. Singh discusses the treatment women should follow after ovarian cancer surgery.
So after surgery, chemotherapy. Getting the right chemotherapy is really, really important. There’s some drugs, the taxanes and the platinums, that we know are the most active. There is ways to get the drug. There’s people who are eligible for intra-abdominal or intra-peritoneal chemotherapy that seems to have better cure rates and have longer disease-free survivals and better responses in the future to chemotherapy if the cancer does recur.
And so having the expertise, one, to know that someone’s eligible, and then to do that treatment. Now what’s hard about getting chemo in your abdomen, it is more toxic. In the short-run, there was good data that showed the quality of life during treatment was not as good as getting IV treatment. A year later, though, quality of life was the same. So someone who can manage the symptoms, give that treatment safely, is more likely to give their patients the benefits of that.
So radiation, people always ask me about radiation. For much ovarian cancer, radiation isn’t a recommended therapy. It’s effective, but it hinders our ability to give treatment in the future, and it can sometimes cause more scar tissue and other things in the abdomen. There’s lots of select settings, though. If the ovarian cancer comes back in a very specific place and always recurs there where we sometimes do it, there’s some liver-targeted therapy that we do that’s a form of radiation.
So radiation, though we use it less commonly for certain kinds of ovarian cancer, it can play a role. You know, here at Northwestern, we’ve had this belief that certain kinds of ovarian cancer, clear cell cancers and endometriotic cancers, that tend to be local to the pelvis, that those might be more responsive to radiation, so we have added radiation to some of those women’s care, and we think we’ve improved their chances of not having the cancer come back.
About Dr. Diljeet K. Singh, M.D., Dr.P.H.:
Dr. Diljeet K. Singh, M.D., Dr.P.H., is a gynecologic oncologist and is Co-Director of the Northwestern Ovarian Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program. She is part of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.
Dr. Singh attended medical school at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She completed her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and her fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Singh specializes in gynecologic, cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.