If you have ovarian cancer that grew back after initial surgery and chemotherapy, you may need more treatments to control disease and prolong life.

Here are few important aspects to keep in mind:

Chemotherapy choices may depend on how much time it took for relapse to happen.  You may hear mention of “platinum-resistant” and “platinum-sensitive” disease.  This has to do with platinum chemotherapy drugs (like carboplatin and cisplatin) being the mainstay of treatment for ovarian cancer.  If it recurs less than 6 months following initial treatment, that might indicate that further platinum chemotherapy is less likely to work (platinum-resistant).  If recurrence is more than 6-12 months following initial treatment, there is a good chance that more platinum may work (platinum-sensitive).

A variety of chemotherapy options may apply.  Relapsed ovarian cancer may be treated with single chemotherapy drugs or a combination, depending on the situation.  If one has a BRCA mutation, there are targeted drugs that can be used such as olaparib.

Palliative care may be important.  Relapsed ovarian cancer may have many associated symptoms due to the pattern of regrowth of cancer itself.  In addition to pursuing chemotherapy and cancer treatments, paying attention to treating symptoms may help preserve quality of life.  Palliative care focuses on symptom management which may include treating pain, nausea, etc.