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Updated June 18, 2014

Definition: Cytoreduction literally means reduction in the number of cells.

Cancerous tumors are composed of millions of cells. Therefore, as part of the initial treatment of advanced ovarian cancer, as many cells as possible are removed in a process called cytoreductive surgery.

Cytoreduction can be complete (no visible disease left), optimal (less than 1 centimeter nodules left) or suboptimal (more than 1 centimeter nodules left).

Cytoreduction can also be primary (the first part of treatment), interval (after some chemotherapy is given), secondary (for recurrence) or tertiary (after several recurrences). Whether or not cytoreductive surgery is performed depends on many factors including medical condition and ability to tolerate very extensive surgery.

Pronunciation: SIGH-toe-ree-duck-shun
Also Known As: debulking
Common Misspellings: sitoreduction
She was found to have a lot of cancer, but cytoreduction was performed and only microscopic cancer cells were left behind.
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  5. Cytoreduction in Ovarian Cancer Surgery (Definition)

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