Ovarian cancer is hitting a lot of us. Every month, as many as two out of 10 women deal with the discomfort associated with the illness; however, only about 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the U.S. each year.
Distinguishing those women with cancer from those with symptoms is difficult. If your symptoms point toward the likelihood of ovarian cancer even after receiving medical attention, seek the care of a gynecologic oncologist.
Selecting a suitable gynecologic oncologist is vital to giving your particular treatment a continuous feel. This specialist is trained to treat gynecologic cancers through surgery and administer chemotherapy or radiation therapy if needed.
Treating Ovarian Cancer
Upon diagnosis, your doctor will schedule a surgery to determine the severity of your cancer.
Plan for a postoperative hospital stay of three to four days, as well as four to six weeks of home recovery.
Before being discharged, have a doctor address any lingering concerns you might have. Make a list of questions, and have a friend or family member present with you during this talk. Before leaving the hospital, ask your doctor:
- When will you have my results?
- Will you call with the results?
- When is my next appointment?
- What should I do if I feel pain?
Request resources pertaining to wound care, home recovery, and all other facets of your recovery. When recuperating at home, keep these things in mind:
- Plan to take it easy for the first couple of weeks.
- You may need help, so have someone with you or on call.
- You’ll probably take medicine for blood clots, as well as antibiotics and painkillers.
- Gradually take on more activity until you’re feeling back to normal.
The surgery isn’t the end of the process, though. Your doctor will follow you closely in the weeks after the operation to chart your progress. After surgery, you may require chemotherapy to prevent the cancer from coming back or to treat any remaining cancer cells.
When following up, your doctor may want to discuss these questions:
- What further treatment is needed?
- How effective is this treatment?
- How many treatments are involved?
- How is chemotherapy given?
- Are there alternative therapies or drugs?
- What are the side effects?
Ask your doctor about genetic testing for cancer. At some point during your treatment, your doctor will order blood tests for tumor markers. The results of these tests could alter the type of therapy you receive or indicate whether the cancer is likely to return.
What Else Should You Expect?
Getting back to normalcy after this kind of procedure won’t happen instantaneously. Your life and body will change in recovery from cancer treatment. You’ll go through some, if not all, of the following symptoms:
- You’ll experience the side effects of chemotherapy.
- Your hair may fall out, but it will grow back.
- If both ovaries were removed, you’ll enter sudden menopause.
- Cancer treatment can affect your sexual activity.
- You may feel emotionally drained or depressed about your recovery.
These experiences are normal, but call your doctor if you have concerns. Educate yourself. You can be proactive about your recovery and take charge of your health.