Part 8: Beyond cancer treatment
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Ovarian cancer
A treatment plan often addresses challenges other than
cancer treatment. Often, a patient’s main concern is that
treatment works. However, dealing with cancer is complex
and brings many physical and emotional challenges. It
is important to know about these challenges and get the
support you need.
You may have different challenges than the ones listed.
But, it is important to remember that everyone has
strengths and talents. Use yours to help cope with ovarian
cancer and its treatments. Maintain warm relationships
with family and friends. Make a list for them of things that
would help you. Most people would be happy to hear
what you need. If you are a person of faith, your personal
beliefs and faith community can help. There are also
professionals in mental health, social work, and pastoral
services who can help you. You can also join support
groups for help and support from other cancer survivors.
Becoming a “cancer patient”
Hearing “you have cancer” is likely to be life-changing.
Some challenges may include managing doctor visits,
figuring out how to care for your kids, missing work, and
feeling a loss of control. Some people try to keep their
life as normal as they can. Others change their life a lot.
However, many cancer survivors will tell you that during
the active treatment period, being a patient is your job.
It’s a job that requires much time and energy. This can be
hard. Accept the support offered to you and reach out for
more help if you need it. Many people are willing to help
Getting enough sleep
You may have already lost some nights of sleep. This
is common. The stress of learning that you have cancer
and deciding a treatment plan takes its toll. You may
lose more sleep while waiting to have treatment and
during recovery. Getting less sleep can affect your mood,
conversations, and ability to do things. If possible, allow
yourself to rest, let people do things for you, and talk with
your doctor about sleep medication. Behavioral sleep
medicine—a type of talk therapy—may also help.
Anxiety and depression
Feelings of anxiety and depression are common among
people with cancer. You may feel anxious before testing
and while waiting for the results. Likewise, you may have
a passing depression during a hard part of treatment.
Feeling distressed may be a minor problem or it may be
more serious. Serious or not, tell your treatment team so
that you can get help if needed. Help can include support
groups, talk therapy, or medication. Some people also feel
better by exercising, talking with loved ones, or relaxing.
Your treatment team has information to help you.
View of self
Some people blame themselves for getting cancer.
However, what causes ovarian cancer is unknown.
Instead of blaming yourself, try to focus on getting better.
Undergoing cancer treatment can be hard. You’ll have a
lot to deal with without the blame.