Many women with ovarian cancer undergo multiple rounds of chemotherapy because their cancer recurs. A recurrence is obviously concerning and upsetting, but women find the resolve and strength to handle the need to undergo new treatments. Having lived through cancer before, you know what to expect, how to fight the cancer and what to hope for. Enlisting support from family and friends can be very important at this time.
Treatment for a woman with a recurrence is determined by what is called the “time to recurrence” which researchers often call “progression-free survival.”
The “time to recurrence” is the amount of time between your response to a prior platinum-based chemotherapy and the time of the recurrence.
- If the time to recurrence is less than six months, the ovarian cancer is classified as platinum-resistant, and the women will be treated with usually one other type of chemotherapy drug. Women are encouraged to consider participating in a clinical trial that might offer an opportunity to take a new investigational drug that could be helpful.
- If the time to recurrence is more than six months, the ovarian cancer is classified as platinum-sensitive and the woman will be treated with a platinum-based drug again and another chemotherapy agent.
During treatment for recurrence, it is very important to have a continual dialogue with your doctor about the benefits of treatment, with respect to remission and survival, versus the risks of the side effects that hurt the quality of your life.