Dena’s Story

Dena Svoboda, 56, never expected a bad case of acid reflux would turn out to be cancer. “I thought it was a gallbladder issue, but it wasn’t,” said Dena, of Sagamore Hills, Ohio. “It ended up being a 25-pound tumor.”

Dena was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had surgery at Cleveland Clinic to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy. But just over a year later, the cancer returned.

Once ovarian cancer returns, the prognosis usually isn’t good, with many patients living only about another year, said Dana’s physician, Robert DeBernardo, MD, a gynecologic oncologist and Director of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program at Cleveland Clinic.

But nearly four years later, Dena has defied the odds — thanks to a novel treatment during her second surgery called a “chemo bath,” which research has shown helps women with advanced ovarian cancer live longer, with a better quality of life.