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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Few Ovarian Cancer Patients Receive Best Possible Care

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.

UC Irvine gynecologic oncologists specialize in a IP (intraperitoneal) chemotherapy procedure that helps prevent ovarian cancer from spreading. (UC Irvine)

UC Irvine gynecologic oncologists specialize in a IP (intraperitoneal) chemotherapy procedure that helps prevent ovarian cancer from spreading. (UC Irvine)

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.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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