Yes – ascites occurs because the body produces fluid to reduce the irritation but is tricky in ovarian cancer as the fluid builds up and gets worse and worse. We recommend ascites is drained when symptoms start getting tricky. Most patients get to know when it’s going to be difficult for them to cope with and will tell us – for example ‘I’ll need it drained on Tuesday’, for some patients the interventional radiologist will drain it because of where the disease is, and for some patients we have the facility called Plurex drains which can be left in and which has a flip valve and reduces number of visits to hospital. Plurex drains can be organised for patients who will need multiple ascites drainage.
Some patients can tolerate more fluid than others. If there’s only a small amount of fluid then there’s a risk of perforating the bowel so radiologists like a deep pool of liquid to drain it safely and without risk so will sometimes ask the patient to wait a few more days before draining it.