Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer

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Duke’s nationally ranked cancer experts detect and treat cancer that occurs in the ovaries and fallopian tubes as well as primary peritoneal cancer. Our gynecologic oncologists are specialists in treating women with cancers that affect their reproductive systems. We understand the impact ovarian cancer has on your fertility, sexual function, and psychological health and on your family. We draw upon the latest research findings and our ongoing clinical trials to find your ovarian cancer as early as possible and create the most effective treatment plan for the stage and type of your cancer.

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Gynecologic Specialists in Ovarian Cancer

Many concerns may run through your mind if you suspect you have ovarian cancer. Studies show that women with gynecological cancers who are treated by gynecologic oncologists -- obstetricians/gynecologists (OB-GYNs) who have additional years of training in cancers of the female reproductive system -- have better outcomes.

Our gynecologic oncologists work with women with gynecologic cancers every day. We take your age, health, desire to have children, and the size and stage of your ovarian cancer into consideration when recommending treatment options. We use our training and experience to tailor treatment options to minimize the impact on your fertility and sexuality. If surgery is needed, we have the expertise to perform complex procedures on the reproductive system. Our goal is to detect ovarian cancer early, provide the treatment that's best for you, and increase your chances for a positive long-term outcome.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.



Often the primary treatment for ovarian cancer. The extent of surgery will depend on your stage and type of cancer. Your surgeon may remove the cancer, ovary or ovaries, and possibly lymph nodes if the cancer has spread. When possible, your surgeon will try to preserve fertility by removing only one ovary and leaving your uterus.


Surgical removal of larger, more advanced cancer through the abdomen. May include removal of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and nearby lymph nodes. When cancer has spread to surrounding organs, such as the colon, they may also be removed. Our gynecologic oncologists are specially trained to perform this procedure, which reduces the likelihood that you will need repeat surgeries.


Kills ovarian cancer cells that may remain after surgery. Chemotherapy is usually given intravenously. In some cases, concentrated chemotherapy is administered directly to the abdominal cavity through a catheter or port inserted through your abdomen.

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Pelvic Exam

Performed to feel for masses in the ovaries, vaginal area, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and rectum.

Blood Test

Checks levels of CA 125, a protein made by ovarian cancer cells.

Imaging Tests

Transvaginal ultrasound, X-ray, CT, MRI, and PET scans may be used to create high-quality images of your uterus and surrounding organs. Used to pinpoint the location of your tumor and determine whether it has spread.


Removes a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. Tissue may be removed through a small, lighted tube called a laparoscope, or during surgery.

Duke University Hospital is nationally ranked in 10 adult specialties
Among the Best Cancer Hospitals in U.S.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital's cancer program is ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.

Why Choose Duke

Nationally Ranked Cancer Program
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we are recognized for exploring new therapies through ongoing clinical trials. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving care for our patients.

Access to Our Clinical Trials
You may be eligible to participate in our ongoing clinical trials, which explore new therapies such as chemotherapy drugs that slow or kill cancer cells, immunotherapy drugs that boost your body’s ability to fight cancer, and biologic therapies that block your body's ability grow cancer cells.

Fertility Services for Cancer Survivors
If you are concerned about the impact of treatment on your fertility, experts at the Duke Fertility Center will work closely with you to discuss fertility preservation treatments, which may include egg freezing, tissue banking, and experimental options that are available through our ongoing clinical trials.

Hereditary Cancer Clinic
The genetic counselors in our hereditary cancer clinic work with you if your family history puts you at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. We also screen for the presence of genes, including BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 mutations, that may increase your risk of of developing ovarian cancer.

Convenient Appointments
We schedule your appointments quickly and try to coordinate your visit to be as efficient as possible. This means scheduling time with your ovarian cancer team and arranging any necessary imaging and lab work in one convenient location, often during your first visit.

Support for Your Whole Being
Our comprehensive cancer support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. Our ovarian cancer survivorship clinic also pulls together a range of resources specially designed to help survivors after treatment ends. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.

Reviewed: 12/17/2018