What Do I Do Next?
Most women feel incredibly shocked and upset when they are told they have ovarian cancer. It is very natural to feel flooded with strong thoughts and emotions at this time.
It is important to share your feelings and build a good support network around you. Talking to others about your feelings can help to ease anxiety. Ovarian cancer is too big to live with by yourself. Sharing your feelings with those closest to you may help lighten your load. Their love and support will usually be an important part of your healing process. Don’t be afraid to lean on them during this difficult time and accept any offers of help.
Some women find it easy to talk about how they are feeling. Others find this more challenging. It is important to talk to people you feel comfortable with and only when you feel ready. If you are able to be honest about how you feel, it can help others understand how to best help you. No one person can offer everything you need. So it can often be helpful to talk to someone outside your immediate support circle. They may give you a different perspective and help you work out practical ways of coping.
I was blessed; people came out of the woodwork wanting to help. It was so lovely and helped me so much.
Good people to talk to might include:
Your family GP
Your specialist doctors (oncologist, surgeon)
A cancer (oncology) nurse
Other healthcare professionals (physiotherapist, dietitian, Social worker, psychologist or counsellor)
Your family minister, priest or other spiritual adviser
Members of a cancer support group
You may wish to seek support from Ovarian Cancer Australia's team of support nurses via the helpline on 1300 660 334 or by emailing email@example.com
The internet has an enormous amount of information about ovarian cancer and possible support services. Online information is not a substitute for information from your doctor or other members of your healthcare team. Not all information you find online is accurate or will be right for you. While there are some very good websites, some sites provide wrong or biased information.
Your healthcare team will give you essential information about the type, stage and grade of the ovarian cancer and the treatment most suitable for your type of cancer. Many people say it can be difficult to take everything in and remember it when they are at medical appointments. You may be nervous and unable to fully understand the ‘medical language’ your doctor is speaking.
Some practical tips include:
Taking a trusted friend, carer or family member to your appointments
Ask your doctor if you can record your appointments
Use a diary, notebook or notes app in your mobile phone to write down questions to ask your medical team at each visit and to record the answers. It may be helpful to write these down in the lead up to your appointment as you think of them
Questions to ask your healthcare team
You may also wish to take a look at some of our other information on ovarian cancer and frequently asked questions to help guide discussions with your treatment team:
Optimal Care Pathway
Access the Department of Health’s ovarian cancer care pathway which provides you with consistent, safe, and evidence-based practices to all women undergoing treatment. It ensures your treatment and support are of the highest quality possible.
You can refer to this pathway to learn about the optimum standards of care at each stage of ovarian cancer diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. While treatment for women may vary, the expected standards of care should not differ whether treatment is provided in the public or private service.