If you (or a loved one) have just been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer you're probably feeling overwhelmed at the moment. While there is no list of universally applicable tips for dealing with ovarian cancer diagnosis, we have asked medical experts and an Ovarian Cancer Survivor (19459006) to share what they recommend based on their experience.
. 1 Ask your doctor exactly what type, stage and grade of ovarian cancer you have. Then ask what it means for your forecast.
As you may have heard, there are three main types of ovarian cancer . They differ depending on the cells involved. If the cancer begins in the tissue layer that covers the ovary, this is epithelial ovarian cancer. When it starts in the cells that produce eggs, it is germ cell ovarian cancer. And if it's from the cells that make up hormones, it's stromal ovarian cancer. (In addition, experts are investigating how many ovarian cancers actually begin in the fallopian tubes .)  There are also four major stages I to IV, depending on how far the cancer has progressed. Then there is the degree of your cancer (how much it looks like normal tissue) and the type of tumor (type I means that the cancer grows slowly and does not cause as many symptoms as type II tumors that grow and spread faster). according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
It is important to be aware of the type of cancer you have, as this may influence your treatment decisions. Ursula A. Matulonis MD Chief of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, reports to SELF. For example, in stromal ovarian carcinoma at least the affected ovary and fallopian tube can be removed . Epithelial ovarian cancer is more prone to spreading, so surgery often involves removing the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus.
If you can handle your diagnosis well, you can also conduct your own research, because not everything you read online about ovarian cancer will relate to you Rebecca Stone MD, gynecological oncology surgeon and assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, tells SELF. Much depends on the specifics of your situation.
. 2 Try to get care from a specialized and experienced team if you can.
"You want to make sure you're in the right hands, because the best results are if you get the best care right from the start," [19459004ShannonWestin MD, clinical examiner and adjunct professor in the gynecological department Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, Department of Surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, says SELF.
Ideally you would like to be treated. Stone says he is well-known in a high-volume cancer center (meaning that he performs many surgeries) and is known for his expertise in ovarian cancer. These centers typically have multidisciplinary teams that take care of every aspect of the patient's treatment throughout the treatment.
This should also ensure that you are being treated by a gynecological oncologist (a doctor whose entire career focuses on gynecological cancers). There are examinations which show that patients cared for by these specialized physicians have a "significant improvement in survival rates," says Drs. Westin.
High quality cancer care centers are located throughout the country, Dr Says Westin. "If you're in a very small town, it can take several hours to get to a major medical center," she says. "But it's worth it because it's your life."
The search for a cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute as the National Cancer Institute is a good start. Matulonis. Their goals are the best possible cancer treatment, extensive research and even the creation of promising new treatments. There are 63 of these centers across the country that care for cancer patients. Here you will find the nearest one .
We do not want to notice that finding and accessing the best possible cancer treatment involves various types of privileges, such as finding centers and centers the ability to travel when needed. However, when it comes to the financial aspect, these centers are generally more affordable, as you can get a tighter treatment instead of being treated by multiple practices, Dr. Stone. This may vary depending on factors such as your location and insurance, but it is worth mentioning.
. 3 Try to put your treatment plan into effect as soon as possible.
Ovarian cancer is commonly diagnosed after it has already spread beyond the ovary . Therefore, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. "Decisions really need to be made pretty quickly," says Dr. Matulonis.
The treatment of ovarian cancer may involve surgical procedures, chemo and other strategies. The order in which this happens depends on factors such as the particular species Matulonis
4. However, you should seek a second opinion if you think it necessary.
If you are satisfied with your doctor However, if you have doubts about the accuracy of the diagnosis, the competence of the supplier or the quality of the care, you must turn to another person. Matulonis.
On the fence? Ask your doctor if a second opinion is helpful or not. Westin: "I encourage patients to do so if they want, because I want them to feel safe in their care," she says.
They decide it's worth getting a second opinion, but they're worried Wasting time, and Dr. Matulonis recommends contacting a nearby NCI cancer center, as patients can often be implicated in consultations relatively quickly.
Andrea H. opted for a second opinion after her Although the second doctor offered the same diagnosis and treatment plan as the first one, she said he also spent an hour leading her through everything and behaving better overall, Andrea said today Ovarian Cancer Helpline  coordinates and provides a support group for newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients at SHARE a national nonprofit supportive organization for women suffering from breast or ovarian cancer, eventually went with the second doctor and has been in remission since 1997.
. 5 Ask if you should consider the BRCA genetic test.
In certain cases, doctors recommend that you get a genetic test to see if you have any mutations in the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 . These mutations, which encourage you to develop breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and some other forms of the disease, are involved in about 15 percent of cases of ovarian cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic .
Recommendations for testing for BRCA and other gene mutations vary between physicians. In general, certain factors such as the family history and the cancer diagnostic age may indicate that the likelihood of a gene mutation is higher. If you are not sure, Dr. Matulonis suggests that you ask your doctor, "Is my type of ovarian cancer something related to BRCA?"
If you are eligible for a test, you should do it as soon as possible, Dr. Matulonis. It can affect your treatment plan, such as a preventive mastectomy to lower breast cancer risk. It can also indicate if your family members might also want to be tested.
Andrea found that she had a BRCA2 gene mutation in 2000, she says. Her daughter decided that she wanted to be tested when she was 25 years old. Unlike her mother, she had no BRCA gene mutation. Although they had opposite results, they are both happy that they have decided to take the test.
. 6 Ask if you are eligible for clinical trials in the treatment of ovarian cancer.
There are more opportunities for people with ovarian cancer to participate in clinical trials than ever before, says Drs. Westin. Many of these studies actually include the current standard of treatment, she explains. This means that you get the best evidence-based treatment available to you, as well as more advanced treatment beyond the limits of research. Therefore, the drug and therapy scientists are enthusiastic, but not yet proven effective. (For example, Andrea received her BRCA test in a clinical trial.)
Dr. Westin recommends that you check with your doctor at an early stage as to whether you may be a good candidate for this. Visit the ACS for more information on clinical trials and as you can find .
. 7 Look for a psychiatric care if you have difficulties.
It's hard to overstate how normal it is to feel upset after you find out you have ovarian cancer It's also normal to feel sour, confused, empty, anxious, paralyzed, grieving, anxious or deaf feel. There is no right reaction.
"It's a devastating diagnosis," says Andrea. "You have to feel those feelings no matter what they are. Do not wear down your feelings.
If you want help processing your emotions or simply proactively address your mental health talk to someone. "If there is time for professional advice, then the mortality rate is the result," says Andrea.
Since many doctors today recognize that good mental health is an essential part of cancer treatment, many centers have a team of psychologists and psychiatrists from the beginning. "These are mental health professionals who specialize in these problems with cancer," says Dr. Westin. If you are not being cared for in a counseling center, you can still ask your doctor for advice on finding a therapist that suits your needs.
. 8 Ask your support network what you need and remember that they are not a burden.
Managing your cancer treatment in addition to everything you already do is a lot, to say the least. That's why Dr. dr. Matulonis, find out what kind of help you want from your loved ones. "People need to bring friends and family together as soon as possible," she says.
Depending on your circumstances, this may include, for example, organizing childcare, arranging appointments, preparing food for your family, or going for a walk. Or you want people to help you pass the time while in the Chemo-Suite . ("There's nothing like having friends and family members worshiping you there to support you," Andrea says.)
Whatever you want, do not be shy about asking what you need. The people who love you want to help. "If you have any practical concerns, now is not the time to attend the ceremony," says Andrea. "You would be surprised how many people are prepared to tread on the plate."
. 9 Take advantage of the support resources offered by your hospital, local community and national organizations.
Even the strongest social support network could claim some reinforcements, like the social workers in most cancer centers, Dr. Westin. Dr. Matulonis says the other resources available range from community volunteers cleaning your home or cooking food for you to hospital staff whose job it is to help the patient with insurance and tackle the problem solve the best care for the lowest price.
You can also search resources online through the ACS. They have their own initiatives, such as the Voluntarily Provided Transport and Accommodation Support Program for individuals who cover a long road to treatment. They also have a large search engine that will assist you in finding resources nearby, along with trained cancer information specialists around the clock to help you find what you need need. You can reach them at 1-800-227-2345.
10th Join a support group if you find that helpful.
Not everyone wants to seek external support, especially after being diagnosed. "Some women work on everything that happens to them and spend time with their family and their trusted friends," says Dr. Matulonis. "Sometimes they are not ready."
While this may not be interesting for you at this moment, it can be consolatory to know that there are a lot of groups that you can join when you are prepared. "There's nothing like talking to someone who's been there," says Andrea.
Ask your care team about support groups for ovarian cancer in your medical center or in your community. Westin. "My patients talk to each other and benefit enormously," says Dr. Stone. "In the end, they become friends." If face-to-face meetings are not right for you (or just not your thing), there are plenty of communities that can be found online or by phone. Westin.
Here are some support networks:
11. Keep these survival rates in perspective.
"It can be overwhelming to look online and see some really hard numbers," says Dr. Westin. The most devastating number is as follows: The relative survival rate for ovarian cancer from 1945 (19459004) is 47 percent, which means that people diagnosed with ovarian cancer are still about 47 percent as likely as people in the general population to be in five Be alive for years. However, it is important to look at this fact with a tremendous grain of salt.
The five-year survival rates we have today are based on people who were treated five or more years ago, explains the ACS . This means that developments in recent years are not yet reflected in the data, so the current outlook for survival may be better than you think. Annals of Oncology examined the mortality rate of ovarian cancer from 1970 to 2012 in several countries and found that the death rate from ovarian cancer in the US declined 16 percent between 2002 and 2012. The hope is that this trend will continue
The other thing to keep in mind is that these numbers are general population trends. "They're all thrown together – older and sick, younger and healthier, inferior and higher grade tumors," says Andrea. These numbers can not say what will happen to a single person. As Andrea says, "You have to remember that you're a statistic of one."