We know that being diagnosed with ovarian cancer can be shocking. Wondering what the future will bring is scary. But since ovarian cancer is usually found in later stages, your treatment may need to start right away. This does not give you much time to prepare. Information comes fast, and it’s common to feel overwhelmed knowing you have to make decisions quickly. It can be hard getting ready for treatment and juggling the rest of your life. To help, we have some helpful tips for you.
- Learn as much as you can about treatment options, your treatment plan, what to expect from surgery, chemotherapy and recovery.
- Ask your health care team questions. You won’t always know what questions to ask as this will all be new to you. That’s okay. As you think of questions, write them down. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- What kind of cancer do I have?
- Where is the cancer?
- What stage is it in?
- What are the chances my cancer can be treated successfully?
- What are my treatment options?
- What tests will I need?
- How will I know what treatment is best for me?
- What are possible side effects of the treatments?
- Will I go into remission?
- What are the chances my cancer will come back?
- What can I do to help myself stay cancer-free?
- What is the typical recovery time?
- What kind of help might I need?
- Clarify if you don’t understand something your doctor told you. It’s okay to ask many times.
- Reach out for any support you need. This may include family, friends and neighbors or support groups.
- Call your doctor between visits if you have any questions.
- Bring a family member or friend to your doctor visits. They can help you remember the information you need to know.
Treatments include surgery and chemotherapy, both of which can be hard on your body. You will need to recover after surgery. Chemotherapy can have side effects, and you may feel sick and weak after the treatments. For example, fatigue is common. It may be hard for you to keep up with your normal activities. Other common side effects of chemotherapy can include nausea and vomiting, heartburn, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Side effects can vary depending on your health and treatment. Talk to your health care team if you have any side effects. They can help manage and relieve some of them.
It’s important that you take care of yourself. Eat a healthy, balanced diet to help you heal and give you more energy. Eating well, getting enough sleep and staying as active as you can are good for your overall health.
Many women go into remission after cancer treatment. But, ovarian cancer can often come back. Your doctor may have you keep taking medications after their chemotherapy is done. This is called maintenance therapy or chronic therapy. Be sure to follow your treatment plan and keep up with regular check-ups even if you’re in remission.
Living with ovarian cancer can be hard on both your mind and body. Get as much information as you can about what to expect. Learn how to help manage any symptoms or side effects. Continue to reach out for support as you need it.