How Much Chemo do I Need?

Every woman who develops ovarian cancer will have unique treatment needs. These needs depend on what type of ovarian cell became cancerous, how far the cancer spread, and the degree of DNA changes in the cancer cell.

Treatment is designed to have the greatest likelihood of killing cancer cells, with the fewest systemic side effects. Sometimes treatments are focused on curing the cancer. If the doctor feels the cancer cannot be cured because it has spread too far, then treatment focuses on preserving quality of life, and extending life for as long as possible.


Women treated for ovarian cancer will likely be given two chemotherapeutic agents. Using at least two drugs is proven to be more effective than using only one. This is because the medications target the cancer cells in different ways. In effect, they work together for the biggest impact.

Chemotherapy is given in “cycles”. This means that chemotherapy drugs are provided for days to weeks, then stopped. The body is allowed to rest. This gives healthy cells in the body time to recovery. After a break of a few weeks, another cycle of chemotherapy is started.

The intent of each cycle is to kill more cancer cells. The cancer cells will already be weakened by the previous cycle, and each cycle should be even more effective since the cancer is already damaged. There are usually about 6-8 cycles of chemo before it is stopped.

Epithelial Cell Tumors

Most ovarian cancers are epithelial tumors. The good news is that many epithelial ovarian tumors respond well to treatment. What becomes most important is how far the cancer spread prior to when treatment was started.

While treatment can kill most cancer cells, it is still possible that some cancer cells are left behind, or are circulating in the body. This is what causes cancer to recur. Regular scans and blood tests are needed to determine if chemotherapy needs to be provided again after six months to a year.


If you suspect that your ovarian cancer was caused by talc products, such as Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, it is important to get a free case evaluation. Treating and then monitoring for return of ovarian cancer is a life-long process. It is both time consuming and costly, and you may qualify for compensation from the manufacturer of talc-based product.

Dr. Greg Vigna provides free case evaluations. He is both a certified life care planner, practicing physician and attorney. This makes him uniquely qualified to provide an independent and compassionate evaluation of your case. Contact him today.