Ovarian Cancer: Where You Receive Treatment Matters

For ovarian cancer patients, choosing the right healthcare center can improve treatment outcome.

Ovarian Cancer: Where You Receive Treatment Matters

According to a large, multi-center study, women with ovarian and vaginal cancers live longer when treated at hospitals that regularly treat those types of cancers. For women with ovarian cancer, the gain was about a year and a half. Women with vaginal cancers gained about three years.

The researchers pointed out three reasons that could explain why women do better at these hospitals:

  1. Better coordination of care for these rare, complicated cancers.
  2. Better access to clinical trials that are testing the latest treatments options.
  3. A better chance of being treated by a gynecologic oncologista doctor with extra training and experience in treating women's cancers.

Practical Advice
Take these steps to get the best care possible:

  • Ask to see a specialist. The study showed that more and more women are going for treatment at these specialized centers, but older women and those with advanced disease weren't as likely to get a referral. Remember, if you need to see a specialist, don't take "no" for an answer.
  • Choose wisely. Find a facility that treats about 300 gynecologic cancers a year, which was considered a "high-volume center" in the study. These hospitals are usually academic or research centers with top-notch experts. The National Cancer Institute offers tips on its website about finding a treatment facility that specializes in cancer care.
  • Understand your options. Be sure you know what treatment options make sense for your type of cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. Ask questions and choose healthcare providers who take the time to answer those questions.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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