Treatment Programs

Ovarian Cancer

Access to promising new treatments at all stages of ovarian cancer.

Specialists in the Gillette Center for Gynecologic Oncology are experienced in the treatment of all stages and forms of common and rare types of ovarian cancer, including:

  • Epithelial cell
  • Germ cell
  • Stromal cell
  • Extra-ovarian primary peritoneal carcinoma (EOPPC)

We are committed to providing you with compassionate, effective treatment based on the most advanced approaches for preserving sexual, reproductive and hormone function.

Innovative Approaches

In addition to traditional approaches, we offer the following innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer:

  • Access to leading-edge medical therapies
  • The latest surgical innovations with emphasis on minimally invasive procedures
  • Intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which studies show improves survival for women with advanced ovarian cancer
  • Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture

Genetic counseling and testing for patients and family members is available at our Center for Cancer Risk Assessment. This service is especially valuable for patients with a family history of ovarian and related cancers.

Multidisciplinary Patient Care Your personalized treatment plan will be developed by experts from an array of gynecologic cancer specialties. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of your cancer, this treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these therapies.

The specialists involved in your care may include:

  • Pathologists specializing in gynecologic cancers who provide a precise diagnosis of your cancer.
  • Radiologists specializing in gynecologic malignancies that help guide the selection of appropriate imaging tests and provide accurate interpretation.
  • Surgical Oncologists experienced in the latest minimally-invasive gynecologic surgery approaches.
  • Medical Oncologists to prescribe the most effective chemotherapy treatments and discuss available clinical trials
  • Radiation Oncologists who specialize in delivering the highest therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
  • Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who specialize in cancer care
  • Oncology psychiatrists and social workers experienced in helping with the cognitive side effects of cancer and treatment, as well the emotional and spiritual aspects of the cancer experience
  • A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet and nutrition during treatment
  • Palliative care providers to improve quality of life

Members of your care team meet regularly with you and your referring physician to ensure clear communication and seamless coordination of care.

Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Cancers

Our pathologists are sub-specialized in identifying gynecologic malignancies. This expertise leads to more accurate diagnosis and staging, which forms the basis for your treatment.

Our gynecologic cancer pathologists are internationally recognized and consulted on the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. They participate in weekly tumor board meetings, sharing information about each patient’s unique cancer with the entire treatment team to help guide care planning.

Our diagnostic experts are aided by all the advanced technologies including blood testing for the CA-125 ovarian tumor marker.

Standard and Novel Medical Treatments

Our patients have access to traditional and innovative treatment approaches including:

  • Intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which infuses medicine directly into the abdominal cavity to help improve outcomes and reduce side effects for women with advanced ovarian cancer
  • Cancer immunotherapy, which entails vaccinating women with their own modified tumor cells or immune stimulants to bolster the body’s response to cancer therapies
  • Therapies for drug-resistant tumors that help boost sensitivity to chemotherapy

Excellence in Surgical Care

Our gynecologic oncology surgeons are experienced in treatment of rare and common cancers and are recognized leaders in their fields. Research has shown that surgeons performing higher volumes of particular procedures offer patients better outcomes. Studies also confirm that ovarian cancer patients initially treated by gynecologic oncologists have improved survival rates compared to those treated by general gynecologists or general surgeons.

Depending on the location and stage of your cancer, your care team may recommend:

  • Cytoreductive surgery techniques that permit the complete or near complete removal of all cancerous tissue safely and effectively, which studies have found offers women with advanced ovarian cancer the best prognosis
  • Minimally invasive robotic assisted surgery
  • Laparoscopic surgical techniques
  • Comprehensive lymph node dissection to detect microscopic disease that otherwise might escape detection by imaging tests
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy
  • Hysterectomy

Pioneering Radiation Therapies

Our specialized radiation teams offer a full spectrum of computer-controlled internal and external radiation treatments for ovarian cancer. Learn more about radiation therapy.

Treating Cancer through Clinical Trials

Because we have one of New England’s largest clinical trials programs, our patients have access to promising new treatments for ovarian cancer. Approaches include:

  • Image-guided procedures
  • A nationally recognized novel therapeutics program
  • A genetic testing program for families with a history of ovarian and/or breast cancer
  • An ovarian cancer tumor bank to study the genetics of ovarian cancer in an effort to find new screening tools and therapies
  • A national study to better identify early-stage ovarian cancer with more reliable screenings

View our open clinical trials for ovarian cancer.

Developing Better Therapies through Research

Our clinical and laboratory researchers are developing promising new therapies, including:

  • Techniques to administer chemotherapy throughout the abdomen to improve outcomes and reduce side effects
  • Novel agents that kill tumors by blocking their blood supply
  • Immunotherapy, which stimulates a patient’s own immune system to fight the tumor
  • Therapies for drug-resistant tumors

Learn more about research at the Cancer Center.

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant cells are found in an ovary.

Ovarian Cancer and Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colon Cancer (HNPCC)

The risk for ovarian cancer is increased with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), an autosomal dominant cancer genetic syndrome.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Room

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Room at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides cancer patients and their families with information and resources for living with cancer.

Oncology Chaplaincy

Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

Home Disconnect

A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Researchers hone in on treatment targets for ovarian cancer

Gynecologic cancer research Program Director Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, explains how ovarian tumor discoveries in the lab are already impacting patient care.

Paying it Forward

After nearly losing everything to stage-4 ovarian cancer, Kim Lohnes is helping others receive the care they desperately need.

Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course

A recap of the Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course

Nurse goes beyond the extra mile for former patient

When a dying patient asked oncology nurse Kristin Beauparlant to take up her efforts to bicycle and raise funding for cancer research, Beauparlant couldn't say no. On June 15 through 17, Beauparlant and the patient's widow rode 180 miles and raised $34,000 to support ovarian cancer education and research at the MGH.

Women's Cancer's 2012 Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course

Please join us for a free, full day course for all cancer survivors, friends, family members and others.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Room

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Room at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center provides cancer patients and their families with information and resources for living with cancer.

Oncology Chaplaincy

Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

Home Disconnect

A home infusion pump may be part of your treatment plan. In some cases, you may have the option for disconnecting the chemotherapy from home. If this option applies to you, and you would prefer to disconnect from home, this instructional video will reinforce the teaching provided to you by your nurse in the Mass General cancer Center

Cancer Center

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-5130

Discover the Cancer Center patient experience

Our approach to patient care unites cancer specialists across the hospital to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient, ensuring the best possible outcomes.