Chemotherapy, or chemo, involves using drugs to kill ovarian cancer cells. Chemotherapy medications may be pills or capsules that are taken by mouth or liquids that are given intravenously (by IV).
Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles. Each cycle includes one or more doses of medication followed by a rest period. Most people with ovarian cancer will go through three to six cycles of chemotherapy. How many doses you receive, how long a cycle is, and how many cycles you need depends on the chemotherapy and the type and stage of tumor.
Different types of chemotherapy work in different ways, although all of these drugs make it harder for tumors to grow and spread. People with ovarian cancer are often given more than one form of chemo because a combination often leads to better results.
Impact on Fertility
Some chemotherapy drugs for ovarian cancer are more damaging to your fertility than others. In some cases, you may be able to undergo treatment with chemo medications that allow you to retain the ability to get pregnant. Talk to your doctor about your fertility expectations before chemotherapy, so they can consider which treatment would be best for you.
Goals of chemotherapy treatment include killing cancer cells that were left behind after surgery, shrinking tumors before surgery to make removal easier, and destroying cancer cells that have spread to other places in the body.
Chemotherapy most strongly affects cancer cells, but it can damage the normal cells of your body, too. Because of this, chemotherapy often causes side effects. Some of the most common side effects of ovarian cancer chemotherapy are nausea and vomiting, reduced appetite, rashes, mouth sores, infections, tiredness, and hair loss. Your doctor may be able to recommend other treatments, such as medication, that make these side effects easier to deal with. In some cases, chemotherapy can also cause long-term side effects, like kidney damage, hearing loss, or blood cancer.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer — American Cancer Society
How Cancer and Cancer Treatment Can Affect Fertility in Females — American Cancer Society