NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Ovarian Cancer - page 78

Part 9: Treatment plans
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Ovarian cancer
Version 1.2013
Stress and symptom control
Cancer or its treatment can cause bothersome
symptoms. You may also have symptoms from the
stress of having cancer. Such symptoms include pain,
sleep loss, and anxiety. See Part 8 for more information.
Helping you to be comfortable and stay active are key
goals of the treatment plan. There are ways to treat
many symptoms, so tell your treatment team about any
symptoms you have so they can help.
Having cancer may cause you to feel helpless, fearful,
alone, or overwhelmed. There are ways to manage this
stress. At your cancer center, cancer navigators, social
workers, and other experts can help. There may also be
helpful community resources, such as support groups
and wellness centers.
Financial stress is common. You may be unemployed or
miss work during treatment. You may have too little or
no health insurance. Talk to your treatment team about
work, insurance, or money problems. They will include
information in the treatment plan to help you control
your finances.
Survivorship care
Cancer survivorship begins on the day you learn of
having ovarian cancer. For many survivors, the end of
active treatment signals a time of celebration but also of
great anxiety. This is a very normal response. You may
need support to address issues that arise from not having
regular visits with your treatment team. Your treatment
plan should include a schedule of follow-up cancer tests,
treatment of long-term side effects, and care of your
general health.
Advance care planning
Talking with your doctor about your prognosis can help
with treatment planning. If the cancer can’t be cured,
a care plan for the end of life can be made. However,
such talks often happen too late or not at all. Your doctor
may delay these talks for fear that you may lose hope,
become depressed, or have a shorter survival. Studies
suggest that these fears are wrong. Instead, there are
many benefits to advance care planning. It is useful for:
• Knowing what to expect,
• Making the most of your time,
• Lowering the stress of caregivers,
• Having your wishes followed,
• Having a better quality of life, and
• Getting good care.
Advance care planning starts with an honest talk between
you and your doctors. You don’t have to know the exact
details of your prognosis. Just having a general idea will
help with planning. With this information, you can decide
at what point you’d want to stop chemotherapy, if at all.
You can also decide what treatments you’d want for
symptom relief, such as surgery or drugs.
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