If you have advanced ovarian cancer, you’re probably facing a lot of questions. Many of these questions have difficult answers. From treatment choices to lifestyle changes to side effects, it’s a lot to understand. But with the right support and guidance, you can manage your cancer and retain a sense of control.
Understanding Your Treatment Options
Treatment for advanced ovarian cancer is like a moving target. One treatment may work and show great promise but then, suddenly, stop working or not be as effective. You may find another treatment that works instead, or your body may stop responding to any treatment. You and your doctor may decide that some treatment options aren’t worthwhile and that your quality of life is more important. It’s important to understand the potential benefits and risks of any treatment.
Diet, exercise, and emotional health are important to everyone. These three things may be even more important to those facing cancer.
Women with advanced ovarian cancer should work with their doctor to find healthy diet and exercise plans. Eating balanced, wholesome, and nutritious foods can boost your overall health.
Smoking and excessive drinking can greatly impact your risk for other related cancers and diseases. They can also interfere with your body’s ability to fight cancer.
Whether you choose to continue or to stop your cancer treatments, it’s important you have help from your doctor and cancer care team. The symptoms and side effects of either treating or not treating your cancer may become very painful and interfere with your quality of life.
If you’re continuing with treatment, your doctor will advise you of possible side effects. Be sure to understand these side effects before you begin treatment. Ask about any over-the-counter, alternative, or prescription therapies that could help.
If decide to stop treatment, talk with your doctor about possible symptoms. Your doctor may help you prepare for these symptoms by prescribing medication, offering lifestyle and alternative therapy ideas, and suggesting ways to cope.
Individuals with advanced ovarian cancer often need to rely on a community of caregivers for help. If you’re still undergoing treatments, you may need family members or friends to join you during treatment or care for you when you’re home.
If you’re no longer receiving treatments, these same caregivers can help you maintain a sense of normalcy. They can help you run errands, do household chores, make doctor’s appointments, or pick up medicine.
The role of the caregiver can’t be underestimated. Having loved ones you can depend on will become invaluable, especially if the cancer progresses and the symptoms worsen.
Support from Other People Living with Ovarian Cancer
It’s hard for someone who has never experienced the ups and downs of ovarian cancer to understand what you’re going through. Speaking with someone who has or had ovarian cancer may be helpful. Your doctor may be able to help you find a local support group. Online groups are also widely available.
Many of these groups help patients answer their questions or sort through the newest discoveries that may be beneficial. Caregiver support groups are also available and can help your loved ones who’ve taken on this new role.
A Caring Environment
An advanced ovarian cancer diagnosis isn’t the end of the road. Maintaining a positive and hopeful outlook can go a long way to finding peace and understanding.
The cancer may be out of your control, but the choices you make are ultimately up to you.