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Ovarian Cancer

1. What is advanced Ovarian Cancer?

Advanced ovarian cancer means cancer has spread from where it started in the ovary to other parts of the body. Ovarian cancer that is advanced when it is first diagnosed can sometimes be cured with surgery and chemotherapy, but this is not possible for many women. Even if your cancer can't be cured, treatment can slow your cancer down and help control your symptoms.

2. What is recurrent Ovarian Cancer?

Recurrent ovarian cancer is cancer that has come back sometime after you were first treated. It is not usually possible to cure it, but treatment can control it - sometimes for many months or a few years

3. How to cope with your diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer?

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. It is very important to get the right information about your type of ovarian cancer and how it is best treated. People who are well informed about their illness and treatment are more able to make decisions and cope with what happens.

4. Will other family members get Ovarian Cancer?

You may have heard on television or in the papers about ovarian cancer running in families and wonder whether this is so in your case. And you may be worried about a daughter or granddaughter getting ovarian cancer in the future. Most ovarian cancers are not hereditary. But it is clear that the women in some families do have a higher chance of developing this type of cancer. There are some genetic tests available today for an assessment of increased Consult your oncologist for detail.

5. How ovarian cancer can affect you physically?

Ovarian cancer and its treatment will cause physical changes in your body. These changes can be very difficult to cope with and may affect the way you feel about yourself. Such changes can affect your self-esteem and the way you relate to other people, especially close family and friends.

You may feel very tired and lacking in energy a lot of the time. This is particularly so for a while after treatment, or if the cancer is advanced. If you are having a sexual relationship, one or all of these changes may affect your sex life.

6. How ovarian cancer can affect you practically?

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of ovarian cancer brings, you may also have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. You may need information about financial support, such as benefits, sick pay, and grants.

Counseling centers available at all specialized cancer centers provide mental & emotional support to individuals & their family members.

Just try to remember that you don't have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. These people are there to help and want you to feel that you have support. So use them if you feel you need to.

7. How to recover emotionally from the diagnosis?

A diagnosis of cancer takes time to come to terms with. Having major surgery as well may make you feel very vulnerable. You are also likely to feel weak at first and to get tired very easily. This may make you feel quite down. Try to take comfort from the fact that this is a completely normal reaction to what has happened to you. If you would like to find out about counseling and support groups in your area contact one of the organizations that provide a counseling service.

8. What should you know about the treatment?

Treatment may cure some women with ovarian cancer that is advanced when it is first diagnosed. But for most women with advanced ovarian cancer or cancer that has come back after treatment, it is not possible to cure it. Even if cancer can't be cured, treatment can very often shrink it and control it for quite a while. You will need to talk very carefully to your own specialist to understand

  • What the diagnosis means for you
  • What treatment is available
  • How treatment may help you

Knowing what to expect can help to reduce anxiety. Talk to your doctor or specialist gynecology cancer nurse about your illness and treatment. It is important that you know all the options.

9. What is the standard treatment for carcinoma ovary?

Standard treatment is surgery (staging and optimal debulking) followed by adjuvant chemotherapy in most cases. Even if optimal surgery is not possible, removing as much tumor as possible will provide significant palliation of symptoms.

10. What are some common side effects of chemotherapy?

The most common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea and vomiting , however, medications known as antiemetics are available to help control these side effects. Other common side effects include mouth sores, fatigue, anemia, dizziness, infection, pain, hair loss, and loss of appetite.

11. Will they go away?

Yes, temporary side effects like nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue usually go away following the completion of treatment.

12. Can I work during treatments?

Some people benefit from keeping to a regular work schedule with flexibility if they don't feel well. Some schedule chemotherapy for Fridays so that they have time over the weekend to recover. Others may want to take medical leave from work. Talk to your oncologist about your concerns.

13. How long does it take to recover physically from cancer surgery?

It takes time to recover physically and emotionally from cancer surgery. When you go home from the hospital, be prepared to take it very easy for the first couple of weeks at least. For the first 6 weeks after your surgery, you can gradually build up the activity that you would normally do until you are more or less back to normal. But be aware that you will probably still get tired very easily. Do talk to your surgeon (gynecological oncologist) about your recovery period if you have any queries or concerns about how much activity you should be doing.

14. Will surgery for ovarian cancer affect my driving?

Before you go home from the hospital, talk to your surgeon about when to start driving again.  You should be able to start driving again anytime from a month after your surgery.

15. What effect does Ovarian Cancer have on sex life?

Sex can feel different after ovarian cancer surgery. Your vagina may be a bit shorter. So you shouldn't have sex until these have healed. This takes about 3 or 4 weeks.  

But you may find that you don't feel ready to start being sexually active again that soon. It takes many women much longer than that. You may still have a bit of discomfort, so prefer to wait a bit longer.  And you will need to recover emotionally as well as physically. Your doctor may encourage you to have plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet, or they may suggest taking vitamin D and calcium supplements to help.

 Mood changes, reduced libido & vaginal dryness may set in.

Key Points

  • Advanced ovarian cancer means cancer has spread from where it started in the ovary to other parts of the body.
  • Standard treatment is surgery (staging and optimal debulking) followed by adjuvant chemotherapy in most cases.
  • The most common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea and vomiting, however, medications known as antiemetics are available to help control these side effects.
  • Some people benefit from keeping to a regular work schedule during treatment with flexibility if they don't feel well.

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