About Ovarian Cancer  

Living with Ovarian Cancer | Hope & Empowerment


This page includes emotional issues in living with a cancer diagnosis, ways to talk with your family and friends, and lists some practical and positive tasks to help achieve empowerment over your illness.


Live in the best way for you
Most women feel shocked when told they have cancer and don't know what to think. You may be confused, upset and worried. You may have several feelings at once. Since the detection of ovarian cancer is often difficult, you may feel anger that the diagnosis was delayed or even feel relief that treatments may begin.

"When I was told I had ovarian cancer after my operation, I was relieved. I had been under various treatments for 12 months without being diagnosed and knowing was better than not knowing."

Some women find it helpful to talk with others who have had similar experiences, maybe joining a support group. Others will want to read every available article on ovarian cancer, while some find all the information too overwhelming and just want to proceed with their treatment quickly. It also happens that some women do not want to talk about their cancer until they are well into their treatment.

Not having the same feelings as others doesn't mean that you aren't coping with your illness. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Don’t add guilt to your list because you are different in how you manage your emotions and attitude.

Partners, family members and friends often experience the same feelings and have the same needs for help and advice as you do.

A lot of people when they are first told they have cancer feel helpless. You may feel that you are in the hands of doctors and hospitals and that there is nothing you can personally do for yourself. But there are many things you and your family can do. Remember, you are free to live your life in the way best for you.

Can we talk about this?
Understanding your illness and its treatment will help you and your family to do things to help and to know what to expect.

Some families have difficulty talking about cancer to one another. They may feel overwhelmed about the emotions this could bring up. Or they may not want to talk to you about your cancer because they fear you will give up hope, or be unable to cope.

If the family decides not to talk they may see fears on both sides increase, find it increasingly hard to cover things up, and make it even more difficult to talk about the future. Families must realize that just because someone with cancer isn’t talking about their illness doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about it. Sharing worries almost always helps you and your family both.

You may need to take a deep breath, and lovingly explain to your family and dearest friends that sometimes it is enough just to have people to listen, letting you talk or vent feelings when you are ready.

   Practical and positive tasks
  Try new things, especially if it makes you feel better.
Have a go at simple tasks.
Day-by-day try to do a little more.
Success will give you confidence, but remember one step at a time.
  Plan a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Learn relaxation techniques.
Take some regular exercise, as you are able.
  Build up slowly.
Set realistic targets.
Base the type of exercise, how strenuous it is and how often you do it, on what you are used to and how well you feel.

Prepare a list of your questions and take them with you to your doctor appointments.
Have a family member or trusted friend accompany you to the doctor to listen and help remember the doctor's answers.
Do ask about sources of information and support when you go to the hospital — you may not be told about what is available unless you do.
Record your your appointments, so you may review the discussions at any time.