A diagnosis of ovarian cancer can be extremely challenging. Even when a full recovery is likely, you may worry about a recurrence of the disease. But no matter what your concerns or prognosis, here are some strategies and resources that may make dealing with cancer easier:
- Know what to expect. Find out everything you want to know about ovarian cancer — such as type, stage, treatment options and side effects. The more you understand, the more active you can be in your own care. In addition to talking with your doctor, look for information at your local library and on Web sites affiliated with reputable organizations, such as the American Cancer Society.
- Be proactive. Discuss with your doctor, family and those you rely on for support how you want to approach decision making. For instance, some women prefer to get all the information and make treatment-related decisions for themselves. Others would rather have another trusted person, such as a family member, friend, doctor or member of their health care team, take the lead in decision making. And some women blend these two approaches to find some middle ground. Use the decision-making approach that feels best for you.
- Maintain a strong support system. Strong relationships can play an important role in surviving cancer. Although friends and family can be your best allies, they may sometimes have trouble dealing with your illness. When this is the case, the concern and the understanding of a formal support group or other cancer survivors can be especially helpful. In some cases, you may also be dealing with the loss of your fertility and early menopause, so you may find talking to someone who's already been through it especially helpful. Although support groups aren't for everyone, they can be a good source of practical information. You may also find that you develop deep and lasting bonds with people who are going through the same things you are. Support groups for the families of cancer survivors also are available.
- Let people help. If you have friends or family that want to help, take them up on their offer and let them know what would be most useful to you. Cancer treatments can be exhausting, so if someone wants to do your grocery shopping or a load of laundry, or cook your dinner, let them help.
- Set reasonable goals. Having goals helps you feel in control and can give you a sense of purpose. But don't choose goals you can't possibly reach. You may not be able work a full workweek, for example, but you may be able to work at least half time. In fact, many people find that continuing to work is helpful.
- Take time for yourself. Eating well, relaxing and getting enough rest can help combat the stress and fatigue of cancer. Also, cut back on time commitments and plan ahead for times when you may need more rest.
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Source: Mayo Clinic Online (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ovarian-cancer/DS00293)