complete debulking

can anyone tell me if you have a complete debulking [no visible tumours left after operation] if this gives you a better chance of the cancer not coming back before 5 years? or longer? as I'm so worried of it coming back, they say 2 years is what they normally say when it returns, I hear their is a 70 % chance of it returning not good not great!!

9 Replies

  • Hi Sarah,

    I was told that the success of surgery makes no difference to the statistical likelihood of recurrence. However, I hold the view that there are lies, damned lies and statistics, because stats are derived from a very biased constituency. As in all things, they are not the full picture, and you and I ARE the full picture in our own cancers. That is why we can do so much to load the stats in our favour by looking after mind, body and spirit. Don't let the figures get to you - they really are not 'truth'. The only truth for us as individuals is what works for us.

    Even statistically (if you need to grapple with them) there's a 30% chance of it not returning. My surgeon, when he gave us the prognosis, and had heard our shock said - 'ok, now let's get on with trying to get you into the successful stats', and I've since become convinced that the terrain of the illness - fitness, emotional state, and psychology can go a long way to defending from recurrence.

    Very best wishes,


  • Hi Sarah,

    I have some good news for you. I was diagnosed in June 2001 with ovarian cancer and told that I had only 6 months to live. I was given 3 chemotherapy sessions and only because of a good oncologist, the surgeon then reluctantly operated. I then had the final 3 chemotherapy. It is now 10 years since my diagnosis, and yes I have had so much treatment that I have lost count, but the good news is I am still here and alive and kicking! I also have had a very good quality of life during this time. So keep positive as I believe this really will help you to survive. Good Luck.


  • Thanks Wendy that is very postive to read, does that mean you were Stage 4? if you were then you really have done well, do you feel that keeping yourself well, and keeping busy? is the key, or do you feel it is just luck, you said you had chemotherepy a number of times how many times? over the years and did you have lots of different types of chemo? or the same used on many of your chemo treatments? my fear is that once you have had chemo for the first time then that is it nothing else works!! and you become resistant to different chemo's and then your options become less and less.

  • Hi Sarah,

    Yes it was stage 4 at the very beginning. The operation was a complete success but the cancer was always going to reoccur. I do think being positive is of the utmost importance. It isn't always easy but I do think this helps. Initially I had carboplatin and taxol which worked well and I was clear for about 18 months. Since then I have had so many different treatments I have lost count. Some worked and some didn't. During this time I have had carbo-platin 5 times, although after the initial one they did say i might get a reaction and have to come off it. I didn't until the last time when I got a rash but they still continued with the treatment. Of anything this worked best for me. As you say my options are obviously becoming less but I still won't throw in the towel until I have to. So I would say you have got lots of options still available to you and I don't know what the statistics are but you don't always become resistant to the drugs. I have heard lots of figures and bad reports during the past 10 years and have come to the conclusion that it is best to disregard what you are told and just get on with it. Bad news is not always what it seems! Hopefully you will be one of the lesser percentage they are always talking about.


  • Hi Sarah

    I had stage 3c in 1997 - had an operation on New Year's Eve and the surgeon said that i was pretty sure he had it all. I then had 6 lots of chemo and was told at the start that there was an 80% chance or a reoccurrence within 2 years but that I should focus on being in the 20% of survivors. I then went 13 years clear and when it did return the oncologist said it was unusual and unlucky. But I had led a normal life for 13 years and although I am on my second round of chemo after the reoccurrence I do have a good quality of life in between treatments.. We are all different - and so is our reaction to cancer - but from my experience if the operation has been successful then there is a god chance of beating the 2 or 5 year milestones.

    It is only natural to worry about i coming back, especially in the early days. It will get easier as time goes on.

    Thinking of you


  • Hi Sarah

    Like all of us, the fear of reaccurence fills us all. Despite knowing the statistics of the cancer possibly reaccuring within 2 years, I tend to think of all the clinical trials and research which is ongoing and hence the potential for new effective treatments also should that happen to me. Believe in the power of positive thought and that there are many women here who have survived a long time after that 5 years.

  • I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 4/2011, surgery,debulking 4/2011.. I have had my first chemo treatment using taxateer.hands and lower arms are looking like a rash,itchy,ugly, any advice how to relieve this discomfort. and I am not looking forward to upcoming symptoms as treatment continues.

  • Hi Everyone,

    I was intrested to know how many women who blogg on this site are over 60, and have been newly dignosed with O.C and have stage 3c or 4, the reason I ask is because most women are dignosed around that age, unlike my O.C, was dignosed at 50 which is Clear cell Adenocarcinoma which is very common stage 3c, and if it makes much difference with the outcome and the survival for the future just having another decade on?


  • Hi Sarah23

    I am 62 with stage 3, had first op radical hysterectomy with debulking April 2010, then it came back had another op June 2011 as it was on peritoneom, have just completed 6 carboplatin, CA125 around 40 but scan is clear, next appointment end of March !! good luck for your treatment .Love Sue x

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