New surgical method boosts ovarian cancer survival rates by 70%

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Patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer experience a significant increase in their chances of surviving for three years when a multidisciplinary surgical approach is employed, according to a recent study conducted at Mater University Hospital.

This groundbreaking research, led by Professor Donal Brennan, a consultant gynecological oncologist at Mater, highlights the substantial impact of aggressive surgery involving multiple specialists on the survival rates of ovarian cancer patients.

The study, published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology, analyzed data from over 300 patients divided into two cohorts based on their treatment periods: 2006 to 2015 and 2017 to 2021.

The pivotal shift occurred in 2017 when the Department of Gynecological Oncology at Mater adopted an innovative approach to ovarian cancer surgery.

This approach fostered collaboration among various surgical disciplines to execute operations aimed at removing all visible tumors from the abdominal region.

Key Findings

Under the new multidisciplinary approach, the mortality rate of ovarian cancer patients decreased significantly, dropping from 64.5% to 24%.

Moreover, the study revealed that, three years after surgery, cancer progression occurred in 75% of patients in the first group (2006 to 2015), whereas in the second group (2017 to 2021), this figure decreased to less than 50%.

Professor Brennan emphasized that this research aligns with the growing international body of evidence supporting the idea that ovarian cancer patients benefit from centralized, specialized oncology centers like Mater.

He pointed out that ovarian cancer is a complex disease requiring input from multiple specialties, including medical oncology, pathology, radiology, and surgery.

The collaborative approach allows gynecological oncologists, as well as colorectal, hepatobiliary, and upper gastrointestinal surgeons, to meticulously plan the removal of diseased tissue and subsequent treatment.

Jürgen Mulsow, a consultant general and colorectal surgeon at Mater, emphasized the significance of the multidisciplinary approach, noting that it ensures patients receive comprehensive medical care from the initial consideration of surgery to full recovery.

This approach has not only improved peri-operative outcomes but also long-term survival rates.


Ovarian cancer is a prevalent form of cancer among women in Ireland and ranks as the seventh most common female cancer worldwide. It often presents at an advanced stage due to a lack of symptom awareness.

Recognizing the symptoms, including constant bloating, a swollen abdomen, pelvic discomfort, loss of appetite, and increased urination frequency, can aid in early detection and timely intervention, ultimately improving the prospects of survival for ovarian cancer patients.

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The research findings can be found in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

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