Recurrences are common in patients with PPC or FTC because most patients with either cancer are diagnosed when they already have advanced stages of disease. The majority of patients will initially go into remission, but the disease commonly returns months to years later when the CA 125 levels begins to rise, or new masses are found on physical exam or imaging studies. Unfortunately, the prognosis for this cancer is not favorable once it recurs, but a longer remission before recurrence is associated with a better chance for a second, third and even fourth remission.
There are several treatment options for patients who recur, depending on the location of recurrence, time since the initial therapy and the patient’s overall health status. These options include repeat surgery, re-treatment with the same chemotherapy that was given initially or a different type of agent. Radiation therapy can also be considered for selected cases. Each recurrence is different, so their treatment must be individualized based on a variety of factors including those listed above. It is also important to investigate whether there is a clinical trial [hyperlink to the Importance of Participation in Clinical Trials] that is appropriate for the patient. Unfortunately, once a recurrence is diagnosed, one must re-focus the goals of treatment to help prolong quality of life rather than a cure.