Community Connection: Ovarian Cancer Canada is looking for volunteers! Could you help?

OVdialogue – consider joining our team in the role of Peer Support Volunteer. Over a few hours each week, you would be part of a team that helps connect people, support conversations and are thought leaders for OVdialogue. This is your opportunity to give back to those who have/continue to support you through the tough times, share your unique experiences, and help celebrate successes. For more details of what this entails, please reach out to @Mfallis (

Chemotherapy before surgery?

My mom's gynecologic oncologist recommended that my mom undergo chemotherapy first before determining whether tumours can be removed by surgery. I read that surgery is key to improving a patient's prognosis so I'm getting anxious. Would anyone share how their experience was if you had been given similar treatment options?


  • I had surgery first both times then 6 cycles of carbo/ taxol. 
  • My mom had 3 chemos first, then surgery, then 3 final chemos.  Theories on what is most effective can vary. I have read both sides, that each one is "better", with adjuvant treatment (chemo surgery chemo) being looked at as a newer way.   I think it's a difficult point to focus on, hard to know since statistics are compiled from about 5-10 years ago as I've heard . It's better to go ahead with the plan the oncologist has, but ask questions along the way. All the very best to your mom and you. 
  • Hi @beatcancer8.  What did your mom decide to do?  Yes, there are different approaches to chemo before or after surgery.  Often it depends on the individual situation and what the doctor thinks is the best approach for the person based on what they know about the cancer, where it is and what would be most effective.  @Luci22 is correct when she says theories and results can vary - there is no "cast in stone" best approach so her advice is sound - go ahead with the plan from the doctor and ask lots of questions.  Thanks for your comment @Laurie !

    Has your mom received the guide, "By Your Side"?  It is available through Ovarian Cancer Canada free of charge.  You can order it online here:

    Has she had her first chemo yet.  How did it go?  It is great that she has you in her corner checking things out!  How you are doing with all this???
  • beatcancer8
    edited December 2019
    Thanks Marilyn. My mom has started the treatment option as recommended by the oncologist. I'm hoping that she will get the surgery soon. Then, following the surgery, she will have another set of chemo sessions.

    I would have been more active about seeking second opinions and researching what the best treatment option would be but I also respect that my mom wants to proceed with the treatment as planned. It's been very difficult dealing with this sudden diagnosis. I'm glad to find this community specific to ovarian cancer. I hope that there can be more research and funding for this group given how difficult it can be to diagnose ovarian cancer at its early stages. No early detection methods seem to exist.
  • Flowergirl
    Hello @beatcancer8 - yes, it is so special that you are able to assist and support your mom. I hope all is going as well as can be so far and that she is comfortable. It is difficult to try and wrap your mind around all the information out there and the decisions to be made... and we hope the By Your Side guide can help you. from sharing with the others in this situation, I can offer to you to ask lots of questions and find the supports that you both need; it will change overtime... I'll also message you.
  • Hi @beatcancer8 and @Flowergirl. Often if the doctor is recommending chemo before surgery they think that the surgery will ultimately be more effective so the key thing is that treatment has started. It is scary to deal with all of this so it is good that you are reaching out. I hope your mom does too.