Ovarian cancer is the result of a cancer that grows in a woman’s ovaries. This can occur when damaged or malformed cells begin to grow uncontrollably. There are highly-effective treatments available, but the cancer isn’t detected until advanced stages in many women. This can make it harder to diagnose.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Women who are suspected to have ovarian cancer are given a small biopsy. This is a small surgery that takes tissue and fluid samples to confirm the existence of the disease. In some cases, a woman might have a harmless benign tumor. These tumors don’t grow into cancerous tumors.
The course of treatment will depend on several factors, including the stage of the disease, side effects, the patients health and other personal considerations. The patients preference is also a major factor.
If the cancer has spread, a surgeon may need to remove any parts of the anatomy that have been affected. This could result in the loss of ability to have children, and hormones might be necessary to prevent premature menopause.
Ovarian cancer can be a scary prospect to face, so it’s important that women enlist the help and support of family and friends. The process can affect your emotional, sexual and physical health.
Learning About Palliative Care
People who have a serious medical illness and are receiving care are said to be getting palliative (“pal-lee-uh-tiv”) care. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and reduce pain and stress in an effort to improve quality of life.
The care is provided by a team of professionals who provide extra support in coordination with your doctor. This team typically consists of other doctors, nurses, social workers and specialists. Care may be indicated at any stage of illness.
Palliative Care And Symptom Management
Surgery can help reduce or eliminate the threat of ovarian cancer, but surgery procedures can come with tremendous amounts of pain. Palliative care teams help patients to control and deal with the pain associated with ovarian cancer. Patients need this type of care and support so they can continue with treatments and perform daily activities.
Chemotherapy is usually needed after surgery to stop the growth of cancerous cells. Ovarian cancer is considered aggressive, and many of the side effects can be tough on the patient. Palliative care teams will respond by using equally aggressive pain management techniques to deal with side effects.
Many of the symptoms commonly experienced include bloating, abdominal swelling, indigestion, constipation, gas, eating habits and urinary issues.
Patients may also experience nausea and vomiting, which could be caused by chemotherapy and other necessary procedures. Palliative care teams can recommend anti-nausea treatments, and help provide care for symptoms like malignant bowel obstruction. There are nonsurgical approaches that work to treat these issues.
Patients may find that after treatment, they feel fatigued. It’s not uncommon to experience energy loss, more infections, appetite loss, diarrhea and neuropathy. Specialists work with doctors to help provide support and relieve the effects of these symptoms.
Emotional And Psychological Support
When a patient realizes she has ovarian cancer, it can seem overwhelming. Stress, depression and anxiety are just a few of the symptoms that can affect emotional health. A palliative care team works to treat the emotional symptoms alongside physical concerns. These teams are essential during crucial times, such as the first couple of days after surgery.
Palliative care specialists help patients to learn to live with ovarian cancer. Any potential side effects are evaluated before treatment, and the team works to find ways to reduce or eliminate these symptoms before they impact the patient.
A palliative care team is essential to making the right decisions to effectively treat cancer. They work with the patient and family to communicate with the doctor, and they help to identify and clarify the goal and intent of care.
Getting Palliative Care
If you would like to find out more about palliative care, contact Harbor Light Hospice right away.” and we will help you determine if palliative care is right for you. The process of living with ovarian cancer can be difficult, but the burden can be greatly reduced with the right team at your side.