Monday, February 6, 2023
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Survivorship – Ovarian Cancer

What is Ovarian cancer?

Ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal malignancies are collectively, “ovarian cancer”. The malignancies have similar treatment because they are closely related to one another.

Certain cancers start when healthy cells in these regions transform and proliferate out of control. They then produce a mass known as a tumor. A tumor may be benign or malignant. Malignant refers to the ability of a cancerous tumor to develop and metastasize to different body regions. If a tumor is benign, it can enlarge but won’t spread.

An abnormal growth of tissue on the surface of the ovary is an ovarian cyst. It can happen during a typical menstrual cycle and typically goes away on its own. Cancer is not present in simple ovarian cysts.

According to recent studies, high-grade serous cancers account for the majority of ovarian/fallopian tube cancers. In most cases, the disease really begins at the tip, or outer end, of the fallopian tubes. It then spreads to the ovaries’ surface and has the potential to expand further.

Suggestions based on recent research

Given this new information, several medical professionals advise against tying or banding fallopian tubes for contraception (to prevent future pregnancy) in order to reduce the risk of ovarian/fallopian tube cancer. When a patient is having surgery for a benign ailment and does not wish to become pregnant in the future, some doctors additionally advise fallopian tube removal. This approach might lessen the likelihood that these malignancies would spread in the future.

Under a microscope, the majority of these illnesses resemble one another because the ovaries’ surfaces, the fallopian tubes’ lining, and the peritoneum’s covering cells are the same sorts of cells. Rarely, peritoneal cancer can appear after the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Some peritoneal malignancies, like ovarian cancer, can start in the fallopian tubes and progress from the tube’s end into the peritoneal cavity.

What is Survivorship?

Because “survivorship” can signify different things to different people, it is a difficult concept. Typical definitions comprise:

  • being cancer-free after treatment is complete.
  • surviving cancer and moving past it. This definition states that cancer survival starts with diagnosis and lasts throughout treatment and the remainder of a person’s life.

Some people prefer to use other words to explain and describe their experience since the word “survivorship” does not feel right to them. To manage or control cancer, prolonged treatment may be employed for months or years. The medical staff can assist you in managing the difficulties that come with living with cancer indefinitely. Each person must choose their own way to identify and overcome the problems and changes brought on by their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Dealing with your emotions

Survivors could feel a range of emotions, including fear, remorse, excitement, worry, and relief. Some claim that receiving a cancer diagnosis has made them more grateful for life and more accepting of who they are. Others experience extreme worry about their health and uncertainty about how they will handle daily life. As time goes on, you might still have moments of fear and anxiety, but these feelings shouldn’t pervade every day living. Talk to a member of your healthcare team if they continue.

When their frequent visits to the medical staff come to a stop after receiving treatment, survivors could experience some worry. People often miss this form of support because the relationships they have with the cancer care team give them a sense of stability during treatment. This may be particularly true as additional anxieties and difficulties develop over time, such as any unanticipated side effects of treatment, mental difficulties such as recurrence anxiety, concerns about sexual health and fertility, as well as problems at work and in the financial world.

Every survivor has unique worries and difficulties. Knowing your worries and being able to discuss them is a wonderful first step with any problem. For effective coping, you need:

  • Recognizing the difficulty you face.
  • Considering potential remedies.
  • requesting and accepting help from others.
  • having confidence in the path of action you select.

Joining a local support group or online community of survivors is beneficial for many survivors. You can converse with folks who have had comparable first-hand experiences thanks to this. A friend or member of your healthcare team might be a good place to start, as can individual therapy or asking for help in the learning resource centre of the facility where you had treatment.

Getting a new perspective of your health

Survival acts as a powerful motivator for lifestyle modifications for many people.

People undergoing treatment for ovarian/fallopian tube cancer are urged to adhere to accepted standards for good health, such as quitting smoking, consuming alcohol in moderation, eating a healthy diet, exercising frequently, and managing stress. Your strength and vitality can be restored with regular exercise. Your medical team can assist you in developing a suitable exercise regimen depending on your requirements, physical capabilities, and level of fitness.

It’s critical to undergo suggested medical examinations and tests in order to maintain your health. To create a survivorship care plan that best meets your needs, consult with your medical team.

The changing role of caregivers

It’s possible for friends and family to go through transitional times. When someone has been diagnosed with cancer, a caregiver is crucial in providing daily or as-needed physical, emotional, and practical support. Particularly if the course of treatment is prolonged by several months or longer, many caregivers become focused on offering this support.

The caregiver’s role frequently changes once treatment is completed. The requirement for caregiving resulting from the cancer diagnosis will eventually diminish significantly or cease.

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