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Understanding Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

What is recurrence?

For some, cancer may respond to chemotherapy. No matter the length of time in response or remission, though, the cancer may not necessarily have been cured.1

Sometimes, even after a successful period of remission, cancer comes back. It may come back in the same area as the original cancer or somewhere else in the body. This is called recurrence, and it can happen even at a time when it seems as if you are in remission.2

Unfortunately, recurrence in ovarian cancer is common.3 After each recurrence, the time you spend in remission or response may get shorter.4 The possibility of recurrence can be scary and can leave you feeling uncertain about what to do next. Understanding what recurrence means is an important step in choosing the right treatment plan and managing the emotions that you may feel, both positive and negative.

What comes next?

You’ve already been through a lot, from diagnosis to chemotherapy and other treatments. The thought of going through this again may be overwhelming. It’s natural to worry when things seem to be out of your control. But, while you may not be able to change some things in your life, you can control how you react to them.

Instead of waiting, you can take action after recurrent ovarian cancer has responded to chemotherapy.5


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References:  1. National Ovarian Cancer Coalition website. What is ovarian cancer? Accessed January 14, 2021. 2. Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance website. About ovarian cancer. Accessed January 14, 2021. 3. National Health Service website. What do cancer stages and grades mean? Accessed January 14, 2021. 4. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: Remission. National Cancer Institute website. Accessed January 14, 2021. 5. Recurrence. Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance website. Accessed January 14, 2021. 6. Lorusso D, Mancini M, Di Rocco R, Fontanelli R, Raspagliesi F. The role of secondary surgery in recurrent ovarian cancer. Int J Surg Oncol. 2012;2012:613980. doi: 10.1155/2012/613980. 7. Hanker LC, Loibl S, Burchardi N, et al. AGO and GINECO Study Group. The impact of second to sixth line therapy on survival of relapsed ovarian cancer after primary taxane/platinum-based therapy. Ann Oncol. 2012;23(10):2605-2612. 8. Referenced with permission from the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Ovarian Cancer Including Fallopian Tube Cancer and Primary Peritoneal Cancer, v2.2020. © National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2020. All rights reserved. Accessed February 4, 2021. To view the most recent and complete version of the guideline, go online to

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