Ovarian Cancer Program

Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries, the female reproductive organs that produce eggs.

Ovarian cancer (including fallopian tube and peritoneal) can be difficult to detect in early stages, and symptoms tend to be vague. You need a team of true experts. Our teams have expertise in clinical, laboratory, and population-based research. Our doctors and staff are on top of the newest developments in cancer research, treatment, and diagnosis. 

At Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa, we are highly coordinated at every step, with the latest research to deliver the best care for you. Our clinicians are also top researchers finding new and innovative treatments and therapies. Enroll in a clinical trial to get ahead of the game.

There are three main types of ovarian tumors:

  • Epithelial tumors
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Stromal tumors

Treatment plans for ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer may include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
    • Not commonly used to treat ovarian cancer, but we have experts available for those cases where it might be helpful
  • Surgery
  • Targeted therapy

Why choose Holden for your care?

Patients of Holden Cancer Center benefit from a team-based approach that puts each patient at the center. At Holden, experts in specific cancer types—including a genetic counselor certified and specializing in cancer genetic counseling—is part of this team.

Holden patients also benefit from medical advances that take into account an individual’s tumor, genes, environment, and lifestyle to diagnose and treat their specific types of cancer. Known as personalized, or precision medicine, this highly specialized approach is part of Holden’s commitment to providing life-changing medical treatments and care.

Services That Set Us Apart from The Rest

  • Team of five gynecologic oncologists, meaning you’ll have shorter wait times, more experience, and the knowledge and input from more specialists. We are one of only two cancer centers in the state where patients are treated by board-certified gynecological oncologists.
  • Minimally invasive and robotic surgery for certain gynecologic cancers means
    • Enhanced precision for the surgeon
    • Faster recovery
    • Less pain for the patient
    • Small incisions
  • Our clinical trials give you access to the most recent, advanced treatment options. This may include drugs not yet on the market and other treatments under development that have the potential to increase survival rates and improve quality of life.
  • Genetic testing: You may undergo genetic testing to see if you carry the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation, which if found, would significantly increase your risk for developing ovarian or breast cancer, or help guide treatments for your disease.
  • Genetics of tumors: We look at the genetics of your cancer cells to find the treatment that will work best for you.
  • New infusion suite designed with patients in mind. Our infusion suite was designed with patient input to create a comfortable, welcoming environment for chemotherapy treatments.
  • Quad Cities location: In addition to our Iowa City offices, we also see patients in our UI Women’s Health–Quad Citiesoffice.

"Comprehensive" NCI Designation

A recent study published in the journal Cancer showed that patients treated at NCI-designated cancer centers have better survival outcomes than patients treated at non–NCI-designated cancer centers. Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Iowa to hold the prestigious designation of being a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), meaning we are rated in the top 4 percent of the approximately 1,500 cancer centers in the United States.

The Power of Clinical Trials and Research

Clinical trials are research studies that test out the latest treatments and drugs that are not yet available to the public. These new treatments have the potential to improve your quality of life or increase your chances of survival.

Currently enrolling: A few different studies are currently enrolling that are testing the effectiveness of different drugs. Eligibility will depend on disease type, progression, recurrence, and other factors. Search our database, and type "ovary" next to "disease site." In addition, a study is testing a way to help physicians identify women 70 years and older who would do well with surgery. It involves a questionnaire and blood work.

See a full list and learn more about clinical trials at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.

For providers: Proceedings in Obstetrics and Gynecology is an open-access peer-reviewed journal that the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa launched in 2010.

    Support Our Mission

    Our work is made possible in part by the support of donors through charitable giving. Friends of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can become partners in the effort to control and ultimately cure cancer. Learn how you can help us make a difference for cancer patients.

    Team-Based Cancer Care for You

    We bring experts from different fields of medicine to work together as a team called a multidisciplinary oncology group. Because many patients require more than one form of treatment, our team meets regularly to discuss the best course of treatment and works together to design the best personalized plan for every patient. The team includes radiologists, gynecologic oncologists, social workers, pathologists, pharmacists, nurses, and laboratory-based scientists.

    Our team of specialists focuses not just on gynecologic cancer, but on your gynecologic cancer. That means our team of experts will design a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.