You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor, general practitioner or a gynecologist. If your primary care physician suspects you have ovarian cancer, he or she may refer you to a specialist in female reproductive cancers (gynecologic oncologist), or you may ask for a referral yourself. A gynecologic oncologist is an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB-GYN) who has additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian and other gynecologic cancers.
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Ask a family member or friend to join you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions you want to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions before your appointment can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For ovarian cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What type of ovarian cancer do I have?
- What types of treatments are available, and what kinds of side effects can I expect?
- What do you feel is the best course of action?
- What is my prognosis?
- If I still want to have children, what options are available to me?
- Will I have to stop working?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What Web sites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- Does anything appear to worsen your symptoms?
- Any first-degree relatives with ovarian or breast cancer? Other cancers in the family?
Learn More >> Tests and Diagnosis
Source: Mayo Clinic Online (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ovarian-cancer/DS00293)