When it comes to chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, the dose you receive, the frequency at which you receive it, and the timing of your treatment (be it before or after surgery) is going to depend on a number of factors, including your specific stage of cancer and your body’s tolerance to side effects. The types of drugs you receive, however, are going to be fairly standard. For ovarian cancer, the most common chemo drug regimen includes:
“Every patient is unique and not one size fits all,” says Dr. Scott Rushing with Compass Oncology. “So we will definitely make some modifications to dosages, depending upon the patient’s age, their weight, their kidney function and other medical problems that they may have.”
Commonly, the carboplatin and Taxol combination is given every three weeks for six to eight cycles. Sometimes these cycles are broken up before and after surgery which is called the “neoadjuvant” approach. The drugs are not without their side effects (hair loss, nausea, fatigue, changes in your blood counts, and neuropathy, for example). But according to Dr. Rushing, many women see their side effects improve after the first week.
“The second week they start feeling better. And the third week they’re usually almost back to normal strength and activity,” Dr. Rushing said. Of course, every woman is different and side effects vary a great deal, so it is important to keep your oncologist in the loop. In some cases, it may become necessary to adjust your chemo dose.
Dr. Scott Rushing with Compass Oncology has collaborated with SurvivorNet for this resource. People in the ovarian cancer community tell us that hearing advice like this, and knowing the options, has helped them make better decisions and reduce anxiety.
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