Dealing With Diagnosis
Getting a diagnosis of gynecologic cancer is difficult. You may have waited months before an accurate diagnosis was made. You may have been in surgery just days after hearing the news. Whatever your situation, it is a traumatic event. A journey of physical, mental and emotional healing must be undertaken, which is best done with support, patience and love.
What To Do
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, we suggest five things:
Find a gynecologic oncologist.
Fill out the form on our website to have our staff contact you about appropriate services for you. CLICK HERE to connect.
Join an ovarian cancer informational support group. The more you know, the better self-advocate you can become.
Stay informed about treatments and clinical trials as you are able. (Sign up for COCA newsletters via our website!)
Don’t spend TOO much time on the internet reading negative statistics.
It is important that you work with a gynecologic oncologist, not just a gynecologist. A gynecologic oncologist has experience with gynecologic cancer surgery and is well-informed about chemotherapy treatments specific to your type of cancer.
Please go to our website and click on the “Start Here” button on the home page, and fill out an electronic form for COCA connections. We will call you and tell you about all our offerings for survivors.
We suggest you join a gynecologic cancer informational support group where you can learn about resources and share support with other women. If you live outside of the Denver area, we suggest you join one of our telephone groups. See Nicki's Circle for more information.
There is a lot of information available about gynecologic cancer on the web. We suggest staying informed to the extent you are able, without becoming overwhelmed. We advise you take the information you find with you to your doctor visits to discuss with him/her. However, if you get depressed or overwhelmed with statistics and details you read, moderate your exposure on the web.
Some tips to guide you at the outset . . .
See a Gynecologic Oncologist
Work with doctors you can talk to and trust
It’s okay to get a second opinion
Write down questions before appointments
Bring a friend to appointments to take notes
Consider a tumor assay or molecular profile at surgery, (talk with your doctor or research here)
Get household assistance and/or meals delivered after surgery
Build a team of healthcare professionals
Investigate using complementary therapies
Join an informational support group and meet other women facing this diagnosis
One Step at a Time
Every journey begins with a single step, followed by another and another. Remember that things will not always be this way, that the beginning only happens once and as you move forward you will continually gain more experience and understanding.
A Second Opinion?
Ovarian cancer is a serious diagnosis, so you may want to get a second opinion from another doctor. Check the list of Gynecologic Oncologists in Colorado for physicians who specialize in surgery and treatment for ovarian cancer.
College of American Pathologists
"When you receive a diagnosis, it can be a scary, confusing, often overwhelming experience. As pathologists, we want you to have the information you need to ask the right questions and participate fully in your care. We’re the physicians examining your tissue and blood under the microscope. Accuracy and laboratory quality matter to us because your health depends on it."
Don’t go it Alone
Getting a cancer diagnosis is a traumatic event, often leaving you dazed and feeling overwhelmed. Due to this, it is easy to miss many of the doctor’s words and explanations, so it’s best to not go alone to appointments. Have a spouse, family member or friend come along with a pad of paper and pen, or even use your phone’s recorder, so everything can be captured and you can review the doctor’s words again at a later time.
How to be a Friend to a friend who’s sick
Your friends may not know how to respond when they hear you have cancer. Help them by suggesting this insightful book.