Epithelial ovarian cancer originates in the layer of cells that covers the surface of the ovaries. The disease spreads readily throughout the peritoneal cavity and to the lymphatics, often before causing symptoms. Of the cancers unique to women, diagnosed as having advanced stage disease, and efforts to develop new screening approaches for ovarian cancer are a high priority. Optimal treatment of ovarian cancer begins with optimal cytoreductive surgery followed by combination chemotherapy. Ovarian cancer, even in advanced stages, is sensitive to a variety of chemotherapeutics. Although improved chemotherapy has increased 5-year survival rates, overall survival gains have been limited because of our inability to eradicate all disease. Technologic advances that allow us to examine the molecular machinery that drives ovarian cancer cells have helped to identify numerous therapeutic targets within these cells. In this review, we provide an overview of ovarian cancer with perticular emphasis on recent advances in operative management and systemic therapies.
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