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New aggressive surgery approach improves ovarian cancer survival rates

Posted 10 February, 2021

A new aggressive surgery approach by the UCD Gynaecological Oncology Group has helped improve the survival rates for women with ovarian cancer in Ireland.

A study, (opens in a new window)published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology Journal, showed how the use of multidisciplinary (MDT) surgical teams at the Mater and St Vincent’s University hospitals resulted in significantly improved rates of complete resection of the cancer.

Alongside these MDT teams, comprised of oncologists and surgeons, efforts were taken to ensure patients were in the optimum clinical condition prior to surgery.

Combined, this new approach was adopted by the UCD Gynaecological Oncology Group, and saw a seven precent rise in optimal cytoreduction (the complete reduction of all visible tumour) rates, from 70% of cases in 2017 to 77% in 2019.

This was companied by a morbidity rate dropped from more than 38% to 31%.

The use of surgery for ovarian cancer is usually required due to how the cancer spreads, often presenting throughout the abdomen area.

“Surgical resection remains the cornerstone of ovarian cancer management,” said (opens in a new window)Professor Donal Brennan, UCD Professor of Gynaecological Oncology and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecological Oncologist at the Mater and St Vincent’s University Hospitals.

“The goal of surgery in ovarian cancer is to remove all visible disease and this can involve extensive resections.

“Since 2017, in the UCD Gynaecological Oncology Group (UCD-GOG) based at the Mater and St Vincent’s University Hospitals, we identify the right specialist surgeon to conduct each part of the resection making it a much more sustainable and safer approach to surgery.”

In Ireland some 410 women are annually diagnosed with ovarian cancer, with a survival rate of 36% after five years, and the cancer is the fourth most common type in women.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Jane Curtin, UCD School of Medicine)