Chemotherapy is treatment with drugs that destroy cancer cells.
If the cancer has spread beyond your ovary, you will probably be given
chemotherapy after surgery. Sometimes, chemotherapy is given before
surgery if your doctor thinks that you are not strong enough to have
an operation when your cancer is first diagnosed.
Chemotherapy drugs are also poisonous to normal cells, and might
cause side-effects such as temporary hair loss. Blood cells are also
damaged, so you may need blood transfusions and drugs to stop infections.
Chemotherapy is given in 'cycles' to allow your normal cells to recover
between treatments. Chemotherapy may make you feel sick, but there are
effective anti-sickness drugs that can prevent this.
New chemotherapy drugs and combinations are constantly being
developed and tested. Currently, the majority of patients are offered
carboplatin together with paclitaxel (Taxol®). Some patients are
suitable to receive carboplatin alone.
It is usual for chemotherapy to be given by a drip every 3 weeks
for six treatments. If the cancer returns or does not respond to the
chemotherapy, other treatments may be effective.
Your specialist and chemotherapy nurses will tell you about your
treatment and the specific side-effects that you might expect.