About 22,000 women are diagnosed with Ovarian cancer each year and more than half die from it. The disease is hard to detect early as often there aren't major symptoms.
Doctors are trying a new way to treat the disease by using chemotherapy that's been heated up to kill cancer cells more effectively.
This year, Helen Szablya and her husband are celebrating 20 years of marriage - a milestone they weren't sure they'd both live to see.
Five years ago, tests showed Szablya had stage four cancer - a tumor so big that doctors said they couldn't even see her ovaries.
"The doctor called me in the next day. He said, 'I need you to understand you have got a very serious kind of cancer," Szablya said.
About 80-percent of ovarian cancers are diagnosed very late, said Armando Sardi, a surgical oncologist.
Sardi offered Szablya a new and aggressive treatment called Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy or HIPEC. First, he removed all traces of her tumor and her spleen, gall bladder, ovaries, uterus, appendix, fallopian tubes and part of her liver.
Then, he put catheters in Szablya's abdomen and delivered heated chemotherapy. The chemotherapy circulates for 90 minutes and reaches about 109 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Heat kills cancer cells, but also enhances the effects of chemotherapy," Sardi said.
Szablya has been cancer-free for five years!
"It saves your life," she said.
Researchers are studying HIPEC as a first line therapy for women with ovarian cancer in a phase two trial and are now enrolling patients. There are no geographic limitations to the study. Interested patients can enroll by contacting (410) 332-9294.