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Better Treatment for Ovarian Cancer Shown

separator Researchers have learned that women with advanced ovarian cancer who receive chemotherapy directly into their abdomen, as well as into a vein, can improve survival rates by about 16 months. The National Cancer Institute is urging doctors to treat their ovarian cancer patients with this approach.

Ovarian cancer is highly treatable when caught early. But most cases are caught in later stages, because the disease is difficult to detect until the cancer has spread to other organs and tissue in the body.

Side effects of chemotherapy that goes directly into the abdomen are more likely to occur, and they’re typically more severe than chemotherapy that goes into a vein only. They include low white blood cell count, infection, fatigue and pain. But many women who complete the regimen are glad that they did, knowing their chances for longer survival are higher.

Research remains to be done to determine whether abdominal chemotherapy is also beneficial for early stage ovarian cancer.

New England Journal of Medicine, 2 January 2006.
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