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A study presented yesterday at a meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology found that only about 37 percent of ovarian cancer patients receive the kind of complex surgery and chemotherapy that can prolong life.
The surgery is called “debulking” and involves removing all visible traces of tumor inside the abdomen.
Too often, patients rely on general surgeons or OB/GYN (obstetrics and gynecology) doctors at hospitals where too few of the operations are performed, instead of gynecologic oncologists who regularly do the operations.
The New York Times reports that another treatment called IP therapy is also underutilized, possibly because it may be less profitable for doctors.
The treatment uses the same chemotherapy drugs, but instead of an intravenous administration (through the veins), an intraperitoneal (IP) administration is done through a surgically implanted catheter that allows passage of fluids into the abdomen.