UI Hospitals and Clinics

Ovarian Cancer Program

Ovarian cancer (including fallopian tube and peritoneal) can be difficult to detect in early stages, and symptoms tend to be vague. That's why you need a team of true experts.

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. As part of a nationally recognized cancer center, our highly experienced physicians and staff are dedicated to taking care of you, not just your cancer. Our clinicians are also top researchers, finding new and innovative treatments and therapies. Enroll in a clinical trial to get ahead of the game.

Services That Set Us Apart

  • 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 small incisions, faster recovery, and less pain for the patient, as well as enhanced precision for the surgeon.
  • 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 can 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. Take our virtual tour.
  • Quad Cities location: In addition to our Iowa City offices, we also see patients in our UI Women’s Health–Quad Cities office.

"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.

To be considered a "comprehensive" center means 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.

The Power of Clinical Trials and Research

Clinical trials are where research meets patient care. Clinical trials are research studies that test out the latest treatments and drugs that are not yet available to the wider 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.

About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is cancer that starts in the ovaries. The ovaries are the female reproductive organs that produce eggs. 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:

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

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.

Gynecologic Oncologists

Radiation Oncologists


Physician Assistant

Nurse Practitioner

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Advanced Oncology Nurse