One in three American women diagnosed with ovarian cancer may not be getting the recommended comprehensive surgical treatment.

Hospital data from nine states show that 66.9% of all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer got optimal treatment. Most likely to be under-treated were women of African-American and Hispanic descent, older women over 71 and those covered by Medicaid.

However, women cared for by surgeons with a high volume of ovarian cancer treatment were more likely to get appropriate treatment.
In order to improve overall outcomes, all women with ovarian cancer should be sent to specialist centers for the surgical care.

The key to high-quality care in women with ovarian cancer is appropriate surgical treatment but The Institute of Medicine concluded in 1999 that many American women with cancer are not receiving ideal care.

If a patient has limited disease outside the pelvis, the recommended comprehensive surgical treatment is a lymph node dissection and omentectomy and cytoreduction but if there is a secondary malignancy of a specified organ or site, the recommended treatment is omentectomy and cytoreduction.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project analyzed 10,432 admissions of women who were hospitalized for both a primary diagnosis of ovarian cancer and an oophorectomy.

The study results showed that that advanced disease was recorded in 61.1% of cases and that 24% of cases were considered urgent. Only 66.9% of women got recommended surgical care.

Women with advanced cancer were nearly five times more likely to get comprehensive care than women with early stage disease. Women treated at non-teaching hospitals by a medium- or high-volume surgeon were 35% and 57% more likely to get optimal treatment than those cared for by a doctor treating only one case a year. In comparison to Caucasian women, African-American or Hispanic women were less likely to get optimal treatment as well as those covered by Medicaid in comparison to those women with private insurance.