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Ovarian Cancer

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Ovarian Cancer: Helping Caregivers
Communicate and Cope
By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer

(Page 4 of 4)
  • Going on a mini-shopping spree

  • Eating lunch out with a friend

  • Learning a new hobby or restarting ones you may have put aside.

By paying attention to your needs during these challenging times, you can improve your ability to care for your loved one. In addition, redefining “success” in your given situation can also help to overcome some of the anxiety of the situation. Redefining success means recognizing that reaching smaller goals during the treatment and recovery process can be just as rewarding as overcoming large barriers.

If Death is Unavoidable:

For women facing stage III or IV ovarian cancer, treatment may only delay a woman’s death. Survival statistics for advanced ovarian cancer are low, especially the longer the disease is undetected and the further it has spread throughout the body. If the cancer recurs in other areas of the body, it may also be a sign that the disease has reached terminal stages.

Some women at this point may decline treatment, preferring instead to enjoy the time that they have left with their friends and family. Chemotherapy can be difficult to endure, and if the patient feels that treatment will only prolong the disease and not offer a cure, she may feel that there is little reason to begin. Whatever her decision, caregivers need to stay informed and be supportive. Communication can be especially difficult during these months as each person struggles to “fit a lifetime” into a few short months or weeks.

Learning about palliative care or hospice care options may be especially beneficial. Palliative care or comfort care is often used when patients are no longer seeking a cure and, instead, are looking for ways to enjoy the remaining months or weeks of their life. Caregivers may find it difficult to move from curative treatment to comfort treatment.

Honest communication is important to the patient and the caregiver when facing a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Caregivers play a critical role in helping the patient cope with emotions and feelings at home, as well as sorting out the medical information they will need to understand during their treatment. Combs offered this one last piece of advice when it comes to understanding ovarian cancer treatment: “It’s a matter of mind over body. Your caregivers can help you sort out what is right for you, but education is important for everyone.”


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