Not all physicians or medical centers follow the current treatment guidelines
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has specific guidelines for ovarian cancer patients: surgery and chemo. But recent research found that nearly two-thirds of women with this cancer didn’t receive the recommended treatment, and their risk of dying within five years was 30 percent higher than women who did get the proper care.
High-volume hospitals (those that see more than 20 ovarian cancer cases per year) were more likely to follow NCCN guidelines than low-volume hospitals, but even high-volume hospitals don’t have a perfect track record.
Women who have received an ovarian cancer diagnosis should go to their doctor with questions prepared. “Ask, ‘How many ovarian cancer patients do you treat a year?'” advises Robert Bristow, M.D., lead author of the study. If the answer is two, “you probably don’t want to be one of those patients.”
If a woman doesn’t have access to a high-volume hospital, Dr. Bristow recommends she ask her doctor: “Do you follow NCCN guidelines?”
Each year, about 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the United States, and more than 15,000 women die of it, according to the American Cancer Society. “If we could just make sure that women get to the people who are trained to take care of them,” Dr. Bristow says, “the impact would be much greater than that of any new chemotherapy drug or biological agent.”