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Ovarian Cancer Treatment in India

27 Nov, 2023

Blog author iconHealthtrip Team

Ovarian cancer is a significant concern impacting numerous women across India. This blog serves as your gateway to the realm of ovarian cancer treatment in the country, providing a glimpse into the most recent innovations, top-tier medical facilities, esteemed oncologists, and essential support systems. Amidst this formidable battle, remember that there is a wealth of hope and comprehensive care available to you.

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Types of Ovarian Cancer:

  • Epithelial Tumors: These are the most common type, accounting for about 85-90% of ovarian cancers. They originate from the cells on the surface of the ovaries. Subtypes include serous, mucinous, endometrioid, and clear cell.
  • Germ Cell Tumors: These tumors develop from the cells that produce eggs. They are less common and often affect younger women. Subtypes include teratomas, dysgerminomas, and yolk sac tumors.
  • Stromal Tumors: These tumors arise from the connective tissue cells that hold the ovaries together and produce hormones. Subtypes include granulosa cell tumors and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial because treatment approaches can vary. Epithelial tumors, for example, are typically treated with surgery and chemotherapy, while germ cell tumors may require a different approach.

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Causes and Risk Factors:

  • Family History: Women with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer are at a higher risk, especially if a first-degree relative (mother, sister) has had ovarian cancer.
  • Genetic Mutations: Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes significantly increase the risk of ovarian cancer. Genetic counseling and testing can help identify individuals at risk.
  • Age: The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age, with most cases diagnosed in women over 50.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: Long-term use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can slightly increase the risk.

Symptoms and Diagnosis:

  • Common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, pelvic discomfort, and changes in bowel habits or urinary patterns. However, these symptoms can be non-specific and may resemble other conditions.
  • Early detection is challenging because ovarian cancer often does not cause noticeable symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage.
  • Diagnosis typically involves imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scans, or MRI to visualize the ovaries and assess the extent of the disease.
  • Blood tests, such as the CA-125 test, can help monitor the level of a specific protein that may be elevated in ovarian cancer, although it is not a definitive diagnostic tool.
  • A definitive diagnosis is usually made through a biopsy, which involves the removal and examination of tissue from the ovaries.

Treatment Options for Ovarian Cancer in India :


1. Unilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy: Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is a surgical procedure aimed at removing one ovary and one fallopian tube. This approach is commonly chosen when ovarian cancer is detected at an early stage and confined to a single ovary. It is an option for women who want to preserve their fertility or when there is a desire to conserve one ovary for hormonal balance.

2. Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy: In cases where ovarian cancer affects both ovaries or when the disease is diagnosed at an early stage and the patient has completed childbearing, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is recommended. This procedure involves the removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.

3. Debulking Surgery (Cytoreductive Surgery): Debulking surgery is an extensive procedure reserved for advanced-stage ovarian cancer. The primary goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible to reduce the tumor burden within the abdomen. This may entail removing not only the ovaries and fallopian tubes but also the uterus, omentum, lymph nodes, and any other affected tissues or organs. Achieving optimal debulking is crucial for improving the patient's response to subsequent treatments.

4. Surgical Approach: The choice of surgical approach depends on various factors, including the patient's condition and the extent of surgery needed. Open surgery involves a larger abdominal incision, while minimally invasive techniques like laparoscopy or robotic-assisted surgery use smaller incisions and specialized instruments. Minimally invasive approaches often result in quicker recovery times and less postoperative discomfort, but the choice depends on individual circumstances and surgeon expertise.

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Purpose: Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment that uses cytotoxic drugs to target and kill rapidly dividing cancer cells throughout the body. It's used to either shrink tumors before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) or to eliminate any remaining cancer cells after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy). The choice between neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy depends on the specific circumstances of the patient and the cancer.

Combination Chemotherapy: Combining multiple chemotherapy drugs, such as paclitaxel and carboplatin, is a common approach in ovarian cancer treatment. This combination has been shown to be more effective than using a single chemotherapy drug alone. Paclitaxel disrupts microtubules in cancer cells, while carboplatin damages their DNA, collectively inhibiting cell growth and causing cell death.

Administration Routes: Chemotherapy can be administered in different ways:

  • Intravenous (IV) Chemotherapy: This is the most common method, where the drugs are infused directly into a vein. It allows for the drugs to enter the bloodstream and reach cancer cells throughout the body.
  • Intraperitoneal (IP) Chemotherapy: In some cases, chemotherapy drugs can be delivered directly into the abdominal cavity. This approach is often used in ovarian cancer because it can target cancer cells that have spread within the peritoneal cavity. It may involve a catheter or port for drug administration.

Indications: Chemotherapy is used in various situations, including:

  • Advanced-Stage Ovarian Cancer: Chemotherapy is a cornerstone of treatment for advanced-stage ovarian cancer, where surgery alone may not be curative.
  • Recurrent Ovarian Cancer: When cancer returns after initial treatment, chemotherapy can be used to control the disease and manage symptoms.
  • Adjuvant Therapy: After surgery, chemotherapy may be used as adjuvant therapy to target any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Targeted Therapy:

  • Precision Approach: Targeted therapy is a precision approach to cancer treatment. It focuses on specific molecules or pathways that play crucial roles in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, which can affect both healthy and cancerous cells, targeted therapies aim to spare healthy tissues, reducing side effects.
  • Bevacizumab (Angiogenesis Inhibitor): Bevacizumab is an example of a targeted therapy used in ovarian cancer treatment. It belongs to a class of drugs known as angiogenesis inhibitors. These drugs work by targeting the process of angiogenesis, which involves the formation of new blood vessels. In cancer, angiogenesis is crucial because it supplies tumors with the nutrients and oxygen they need to grow. Bevacizumab binds to a protein called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), preventing it from promoting blood vessel growth. As a result, the drug inhibits the blood supply to tumors, limiting their growth.
  • PARP Inhibitors: PARP inhibitors, such as olaparib, niraparib, and rucaparib, are another type of targeted therapy used in ovarian cancer. They are particularly effective in patients with specific genetic mutations, such as BRCA1/2 mutations. These mutations disrupt the DNA repair mechanisms in cancer cells. PARP inhibitors block the action of PARP enzymes, which are involved in DNA repair. By inhibiting PARP, these drugs prevent cancer cells from effectively repairing DNA damage, leading to their accumulation of DNA defects and eventual cell death. PARP inhibitors are used in various stages of ovarian cancer treatment, including maintenance therapy after initial treatment to reduce the risk of recurrence.
  • Combination and Maintenance Therapy: Targeted therapies are often used in combination with chemotherapy to enhance treatment effectiveness. They can also serve as maintenance therapy to help prevent cancer recurrence by continuing to target specific cancer-related molecules or pathways.

Radiation Therapy:

  • Purpose: Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other forms of radiation to damage and kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. While it is not the primary treatment for ovarian cancer, it may be employed in certain situations.
  • External Beam Radiation Therapy: In this common type of radiation therapy, a machine located outside the body directs a precise dose of radiation to the tumor or the affected area. External beam radiation therapy may be considered when ovarian cancer has spread to the pelvis or for palliative care to relieve symptoms in advanced cases. It is carefully planned to minimize damage to nearby healthy tissues.
  • Intraperitoneal Radiation Therapy: This specialized approach involves placing radioactive material directly into the abdominal cavity. It is used in some cases when the cancer is confined to the peritoneal lining. Intraperitoneal radiation therapy allows for the targeted delivery of radiation to areas where ovarian cancer may have spread within the abdominal cavity.

Advancements in Ovarian Cancer Treatment:

Medical science is constantly evolving, and ovarian cancer treatment in India has witnessed significant advancements. Here, we explore some of the cutting-edge developments that are shaping the landscape of ovarian cancer care:

1. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy has emerged as a promising treatment option for ovarian cancer. Indian researchers and oncologists are actively involved in clinical trials exploring the potential of immunotherapeutic drugs that stimulate the patient's immune system to target cancer cells specifically.
2. Precision Medicine: Personalized or precision medicine is gaining momentum in India. It involves tailoring treatment plans based on the individual genetic makeup of patients and the specific characteristics of their tumors. Genetic testing and molecular profiling are helping oncologists make informed decisions for more effective treatments.
3. Minimally Invasive Surgery: India has embraced minimally invasive surgical techniques for ovarian cancer treatment. Laparoscopy and robotic-assisted surgery reduce the invasiveness of procedures, minimize post-operative discomfort, and accelerate recovery times.
4. Targeted Therapies: Targeted drugs like PARP inhibitors are being used more frequently in India for patients with BRCA mutations. These drugs disrupt cancer cell DNA repair mechanisms, leading to enhanced treatment outcomes and improved quality of life.
5. Clinical Trials: India is actively participating in global clinical trials for ovarian cancer treatments. This provides Indian patients with access to experimental therapies and the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of ovarian cancer research.
6. Enhanced Imaging: Advanced imaging technologies, such as PET-CT scans and MRI, are improving early detection and accurate staging of ovarian cancer. This helps oncologists tailor treatment plans more precisely.

It's important to note that these advancements are the result of dedicated efforts by Indian oncologists, researchers, and healthcare institutions. Patients can benefit from staying informed about these developments and discussing them with their healthcare providers to explore the most suitable treatment options.

Leading Oncologists in India :

Dive into the profiles of distinguished oncologists, each a specialist in ovarian cancer treatment in India. Discover their wealth of knowledge, remarkable achievements, and patient success stories. Take the first step towards tailored ovarian cancer care by consulting with these renowned experts.

Top Hospitals and Cancer Centers :

EExplore our carefully curated list of India's foremost hospitals and cancer centers, celebrated for their unwavering commitment to ovarian cancer treatment. Immerse yourself in the world of cutting-edge facilities and groundbreaking technologies. Elevate your ovarian cancer care to the highest standards of excellence.

Ovarian cancer may present significant challenges, but with the right information and resources, it can be managed effectively. Our blog aims to be a comprehensive resource for patients and their families seeking information about ovarian cancer treatment in India. Stay informed, stay hopeful, and remember that you are not alone in this journey. Together, we can fight ovarian cancer and improve the lives of those affected by it.

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Ovarian cancer treatment in India typically involves surgery (debulking), chemotherapy, and, in some cases, targeted therapy or immunotherapy. The choice of treatment depends on various factors, including the stage and type of cancer.