Holding Hands

Woman MUST know, there is no screening test for ovarian cancer and it will not be detected in your GYN exam. You must know the common early symptoms, act quickly if these symptoms persist.

Just Diagnosed

  • Understand your cancer diagnosis: you must know the type of ovarian cancer you have and the stage at diagnosis. This will impact the types of treatments and therapies that are available and their potential effectiveness.

  • Discover your family history: if you do not know or have forgotten your family history of cancer, now is the time to document our family history of breast, ovarian, colon and pancreatic cancers. Start a discussion with blood relatives and siblings about family genetic testing. Does their health insurance cover the cost? What action does their OB-GYN doctor suggest in light of your new ovarian cancer diagnosis.

  • Take someone to your appointments: It is typical that after you hear your doctor say: "You have ovarian cancer" you will not hear/retain the next 5 things your doctor tells you. This can also happen when you get any updates that sound negative. Find a friend (caregiver) that can go with you to appointments and take notes on the suggestions and details your doctor provides. This person may also be able to help you with treatment decisions. If you can not take a caregiver, record every appointment on your cell phone. Then create written notes from the appointment recording.

  • Create a comprehensive treatment notebook: Create a treatment 3 ring binder or folder to keep all your appointment notes and treatment dates. This will be very useful if you decide to get a second or third opinion. Yes cancer treatment is part; standard of care, and part opinion on how to treat each patient.

  • Start a treatment journal: during treatment enter notes in your journal on side effects and your questions and your concerns between check ups. Remember chemo brain is real and a very common side effect that can result in much confusion and loss of short term memory. Take this journal to your next appointment to remind you of your side effects and questions. Be sure to discuss all the side effects of your current treatment. Remember every patient therapy is unique. Your doctor wants to you to beat this disease and he/she learns from every journey.  

  • Find a local support group: networking with other survivors in your area, can be very helpful for your understanding of your diagnosis and treatment. You can often find good advise from other survivors on how to deal with medical and non-medical impacts of a cancer diagnosis: your mental health, changes in your hormones, issue with sex, caring for dependent children, etc. If hospitalization is required ask the social worker to help you find a group, organization or network

  • Talk to your doctor about genetic testing: The Society of Gynecological Oncology (SGO) recommends all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer receive genetic counseling and genetic testing. This is very import for your children and blood relatives. Genetic testing my indicate more aggressive investigation and more frequent follow up for children and blood relatives.   

Sisters share a lot of things, ovarian cancer should not be one of these. All ovarian cancer survivors should request genetic counseling and testing.

Hope For Heather

Our mission is to raise funds to support ovarian cancer research, to promote education and awareness, and to help to provide comfort to women and their families devastated by cancer.

Email: support@hopeforheather.org

Mail: PO Box 2208
Liverpool, NY 13089

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