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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017


Cancer treatments


Debulking surgery may remove all or part of nearby

organs where cancer has spread.

See Figure 12.

This may include removing organs such as your

spleen, gallbladder, and appendix. It may also

remove part of your stomach, liver, pancreas,

bladder, diaphragm, and intestines. Lymph nodes

that look different or are larger than normal should

also be removed if possible.

Surgery methods

Most often, surgery is done using a laparotomy. A

laparotomy is a long surgical cut in the abdomen. It

is often an up-and-down (vertical) cut from the top

of the belly button down to the pelvic bone. This lets

your doctor see the tumor and other organs and

tissues in your abdomen and pelvis.

Thus, a laparotomy is the most common and

preferred method for ovarian cancer surgery. NCCN

experts recommend that it should be used when

surgical staging or debulking surgery is planned.

Laparoscopy is another surgery method that may be

used in some cases. Laparoscopy uses a few small

cuts in the abdomen instead of one big one. Small

tools are inserted through the cuts to perform the

surgery. One of the tools is called a laparoscope. It is

a long tube with a light and camera at the end. The

camera lets your doctor see your ovaries and other

tissues inside your abdomen. The other tools are

used to remove tissue.

Figure 12

Debulking surgery


Debulking surgery

removes as much cancer

as possible. The extent of

the surgery depends on

how far the cancer has

spread. It may remove all

or part of nearby organs

such as your liver, spleen,

stomach, gallbladder,

pancreas, intestines,

appendix, and bladder.




Large intestine

Small intestine








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