Ovarian Cancer Metastasis: How It Spreads & How It’s Treated

by | Jan 4, 2022 | Ovarian Cancer

Oftentimes women with ovarian cancer that has spread are told that there are no treatment options available. 

But that’s not always the case, according to Dr. Mark Pomper, board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director of the CyberKnife Center of Miami.

“Ovarian cancer unfortunately is often caught very late,” says Dr. Pomper in this video on CyberKnife Miami’s YouTube page.

But he explains that radiation technologies, like CyberKnife can prolong a woman’s life and offer a better quality of life, even if it cannot cure the cancer.

“The question is ‘What’s the role of radiation?’ Radiation therapy can often target areas of metastatic disease that cause problems including pain and give patients a lot of relief,” says Pomper.

Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

With early ovarian cancer, there are often no symptoms, according to the American Cancer Society

And there are no tests for early detection.

But some women can experience symptoms including: 

  • Urinary symptoms – urgency or frequency
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Menstruation changes
  • Painful sex
  • Upset stomach
  • Back Pain

While these can mimic other conditions, it’s important for a woman experiencing any of these for a prolonged period to see her doctor.

Ovarian Cancer Statistics

In 2021, the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 21,000 women will be diagnosed with new cases of ovarian cancer. And more than 13,700 will die. In fact, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women – more than any other female reproductive cancer.

Ovarian cancer is more common in white women than African American women, and half the women diagnosed are older than 63.

But the death rates and the rate of new cases have steadily fallen since the early 1990s according to the National Cancer Institute.  

Still, the five-year survival rate hovers around 50 percent. That’s because oftentimes ovarian cancer is detected later, and it has spread.

Ovarian Cancer Metastasis

In fact, about 60 percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed after the disease has spread to other parts of the body.  

Studies show that less than half of the women older than 65 diagnosed with advanced-stage disease get optimal treatment.  

That’s frightening.  

That’s why you must be your own advocate when it comes to treatment.

For ovarian cancer, treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Yet oftentimes, it recurs.

That’s where CyberKnife can be very useful.

CyberKnife for Ovarian Cancer Metastasis

CyberKnife delivers high doses of radiation directly to the tumors.

“CyberKnife is extremely effective and well-tolerated. We do what a surgeon does without a knife and the toxicity of chemo. If the tumors come back, we treat them again,” says Dr. Pomper on CyberKnife Miami’s website.

According to case studies, like one documented by the National Institutes of Health, CyberKnife can successfully be used to treat unresectable diseases.

Recent studies confirm the safety of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) such as CyberKnife for ovarian cancer as well as the responsiveness of treatment using SBRT.

“CyberKnife radiation therapy helps us manage cancer like a chronic illness. Kind of like we do with diabetes. We can certainly help prolong lives and it does not affect a person’s quality of life while they are going through treatment. They go about their daily routines as usual,” Dr. Pomper says

The treatments are usually done in 3 to 5 days instead of 7 weeks with other types of radiation therapy.

Cancer Treatment Center Miami

CyberKnife Miami opened its doors in 2003 and was the 11th center of its kind to open in the United States.  

Since that time, we have treated patients with varying stages of ovarian cancer.

We know ovarian cancer is a scary diagnosis. We know you have a lot to consider when thinking about your treatment plan, and we’re ready to partner with you through this challenging time.  We can answer your questions, provide a second opinion, and help you get through treatment as easy as possible, helping you every step of the way.  

If you are interested in learning more about CyberKnife therapy for ovarian cancer, call us now at 305-279-2900 or go to our website www.cyberknifemiami.com.