Surgery is an integral part of the early stage ovarian cancer. When ovarian cancer is detected the physician will proceed to a complete staging of the ovarian cancer. When surgery is done a surgical staging is done as well. An accurate staging is essential for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Inadequate staging may lead to inappropriate postoperative treatment. Almost 75 percent of ovarian cancer surgeries are performed by gynecological surgeons or general surgeons and about 25 percent of the surgeries are performed by a gynecologic oncologist. Studies have shown that when a gynecologic oncologist is not involved in the initial surgery, the staging is more often inadequate and the tumor removal is suboptimal and long-term survival is lower. Hence whenever possible a gynecologic oncologist should be involved in the initial surgery of ovarian cancer. If the woman is of reproductive age and the cancer is limited
to one ovary, the option of conservation of uterus and uninvolved ovary is an option. If this is not an issue the woman usually undergoes removal of the uterus, and both ovaries.
Patients with stage IA or IB ovarian cancer have an excellent chance of cure with surgery alone and adjuvant chemotherapy is generally not given to these patients. However chemotherapy may be recommended these patients depending on some bad prognostic factors. If the patient has stage IC ovarian cancer or has a higher stage adjuvant systemic chemotherapy is generally recommended. Most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for ovarian cancer include Carboplatin, Paclitaxel and Cisplatin. The optimal number of chemotherapy cycles to be used is not very clear at this point. Three cycles are often considered as standard treatment.