Life After Ovarian Cancer Treatment
Life is forever changed following a cancer diagnosis. Cancer can impact every aspect of your life – your health and wellbeing, sense of meaning and purpose, assumptions about the future as well as relationships. It may bring immediate and unfamiliar challenges or a feeling of isolation. You may have difficulty in trusting your own body to stay cancer-free. On the other hand, you may find a renewed focus and an inner drive to make the most of your life. Many people need help to navigate through the mixed emotions that occur after treatment.
The period of time after treatment has finished is sometimes called Life After Cancer. This term isn’t the only one people use. Some people like the word Survivorship, others prefer terms such as Life following treatment or Life after treatment. Importantly, in whichever way you describe the time following treatment it can be a time of relief and renewed hope, a time of worrying about recurrence, or uncertainty as to how you’ll get back to doing some of the things you did before diagnosis.
Things to remember:
The emotional and physical impacts of what you have been through influences your experience of the everyday as well as your vision of the future.
It’s normal to not necessarily want to pick up where you left off at work or study.
You may wish to undertake and engage with more meaningful activities.
Give yourself plenty of time to continue to physically recover from treatment.
Learn about what level of health monitoring is reasonable and when to check concerns with your GP.
Fears around checkups and scans are normal and they will ease off over time.
Get other people’s perspectives about life after cancer – talk to other survivors by joining online or face to face support groups.
Life is unlikely to return to the way it was before diagnosis due the impact of diagnosis and treatment, along with the everchanging nature of ourselves and life in general. How you deal with getting back into life will be influenced by many things, such as:
the shock and the emotional impact of diagnosis
ongoing fatigue caused by surgery and treatment
your cultural beliefs of disease
your past experience of trauma or grief
Sometimes people say their cancer changed their life for the better. It is a process of evolution – evolving into a different person. Moving from an almost 100% focus on cancer and treatment can make you feel like there is a big void in your life. Re-engaging with enjoyable aspects of your life, or discovering new joys, can help fill that void.
It is always worthwhile to seek help from allied health professionals and organisations that support people affected by cancer. Some of the ways they can help are:
managing fears of recurrence and health concerns
improving physical capacity and nutritional health
resetting personal and career goals
developing a return-to-work plan
easing financial pressures
Where to get support
Ovarian Cancer Australia's Teal Support Program is available to those impacted by ovarian cancer at any stage including at diagnosis, during treatment and follow-up. You may find that you would like support more now than before, and that is very normal.
Cancer Council 13 11 20
Peter Mac - Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre
Can We - Have a list of support services and resources for LGBTQ communities
Dietitians Australia - https://dietitiansaustralia.org.au/
Exercise and Sports Science Australia - https://www.essa.org.au/