Advanced ovarian cancer is characterized by its ability to spread cancerous cells to other organ systems of the body. Unfortunately, in some cases the primary cancer which began in the ovaries is not caught until the tumors have begun to metastasize and affect the liver, lung, and also gastrointestinal tract.
Sometimes this happens when cancerous cells are transported via the bloodstream to other organs. Tracing the cancer in those organs back to the original cancer is ironically sometimes the way that ovarian cancer gets diagnosed in the first place.
When your ovarian cancer spreads, you will notice that the functioning of other organic systems is impaired and thus their functioning is lessened. This holds true for the lungs, liver, but also the bones and gastrointestinal tract.
Generally, your physician will analyze the cells which make up the tumors in other organs and from the findings deduce the setting and location of the original tumor. Even as this is not a cure in itself, it does help to localize the problem and seek out ways to eradicate the source of the tumors.
Ovarian cancer sufferers will need to undergo a surgery to remove the diseased organs and as much of the surrounding tissues as possible to remove the source of the cancerous cells, but the treatment is not done at this point.
The metastasized cancers need to also be treated and to do so sometimes requires the use of extensive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy and even further surgeries to remove the worst cancer cell infestations on and in the various organs.
It is imperative to realize that metastasized cancer is by and large the most lethal stage of the disease and nonetheless, there are hopes for fighting the disease, slowing its spread and also minimizing the effects of the spread tumors. Doing so requires quite frequently extensive treatment and sometimes also methods which are considered invasive and harsh and come with a plethora of side effects.
It would be simplistic to assert that the all out fighting of the disease is always the most advisable way to go and there are indeed times when patients whose cancer has spread so completely through their bodies elect to let the disease run its course rather than adversely affecting their quality of life for the time they have remaining.
This is a decision that must be reached by the patient and should not be made until a thorough examination of the individual has been made by a specialist. Some ovarian cancer sufferers who have not been diagnosed with the disease until it was well into stage IV may elect to not undergo treatment yet doing so without complete disclosure of all treatments that may be open and also a realistic understanding of the odds that treatment may offer is unwise.
Remember that cancer research is a daily ongoing process and what might have been considered incurable just a few short months ago may now actually be curable. Do not give up until all options have been explored.