Ovarian cancer: the main questions and answers

Cancer Symbol

The diagnosis of ovarian cancer (medical: ovarian carcinoma) is a bad news. And yet no reason to give up or lose the courage to live. On the contrary. Once the initial shock is overcome, you should set about collecting information. Get an overview of the situation, introduce trusted people, get advice and plan the next steps. Keep the events that you can influence under your control.

Ovarian cancer is a dangerous affair, but it has one advantage: it is usually not an emergency and immediate action is needed only in exceptional cases. So you have time to find your way around the new situation.

Find a good clinic!

It is important that you understand your findings exactly. Unfortunately, there are hardly any patient-friendly, easily understandable findings. What means "T1a" or "FIGO-stage IA grade 1", opens only insiders (it is the most favorable finding, if ovarian cancer is detected). Your doctor will hopefully take the time and sensitivity necessary to fully inform you that you can actually do something with it.

As in other life, but also applies here: trust is good (and important), control is better. If necessary, use your right to a second opinion, the health insurance pays. Find the best possible clinic for treatment. Because the quality of medical care is a decisive factor for the subsequent success and your chances of recovery. Unfortunately, transparency and competition for results are still in their infancy in medicine. Here, too, it is necessary to spend some time and energy to ensure a good basis for making decisions. If you do not want to rely blindly on the medical recommendation.

Tested quality of care: certified gynecological cancer centers

In addition to listening in the private environment and searching through Internet forums, more and more objectified information about hospital quality can be found. For example, by OnkoZert, which describes itself as an independent institute. On behalf of the German Cancer Society it offers a certification system for oncologically specialized health care facilities. For the treatment of your ovarian cancer, you can oncomap.de look for suitable gynecological cancer centers.

In addition to the number of cases, the treatment results (including complication rates) and quality assurance, conducting studies is also considered a criterion for good care facilities. This may give you the opportunity to use new, not yet approved or less widely used therapy procedures as an additional opportunity. And here, too, your right to self-determination applies: Whether it is a standard procedure that has been started or participation in a study - you can stop at any time, if you think that is better. Theoretically.

Support from a trusted person can be helpful

In practice, the ambient pressure is often so great that it is difficult to prevail as a patient. Especially when one's own stamina has already cracked in the face of the exhausting processes anyway. Therefore, consider taking a confidant from your private environment into the doctor's talks. Let us assist you in understanding, evaluating and reconciling the therapeutic suggestions with your own needs.

Recommended reading: Patient's guide to ovarian cancer

First, get the patient's guide to ovarian cancer. You can find it on Google and download it as PDF. It contains important information in an easy-to-understand, patient-oriented form. To prepare for the upcoming discussions with your doctor and possibly other bodies (for example, clinic, health insurance, self-help and welfare institutions), it is best to make a note of your own question or point catalog. Try to capture (and then query as well as apply) all relevant topics that seem important to you in the context of medical treatment, rehabilitation thereafter and your subsequent daily life.

Promote your self-healing powers

Of course, you also have the right not to want to know everything. Sometimes it can be better to be trustingly guided. Weigh off what makes you feel better. In any case, give your full attention to your self-healing powers. These are mainly promoted by well-known factors such as healthy diet, exercise and sleep. But also through loving inner attention, social contacts and exercises for relaxation, mindfulness and serenity.

We wish you all the best!

Author: Dr. Hubertus Glaser