Talking to Your Health Care Provider about Ovarian Cancer
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or health care provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with ovarian cancer. By talking openly and regularly with your health care provider, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your health care provider:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Health Care Provider
About Your Risk of Developing Ovarian Cancer
- Given my family and medical history, how great is my risk?
- Should I have an ultrasound examination to make sure I don't have an early cancer in an ovary?
- What is the relationship between ovarian cancer and breast cancer, and should I have more frequent mammograms?
- Is there an increased risk of ovarian cancer if I have taken birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy?
About Ovarian Cancer
Can you give me detailed information about:
- Ovarian cancer
- The type of ovarian cancer I have
- The stage of my cancer
About Treatment Options
- Do you recommend the current standard treatment, or would you advise me to look into enrolling in a clinical trial of new treatments?
What are the treatment options, and for each possibility, what can you tell me about:
- The risks
- Possible benefits
- Side effects
About Lifestyle Changes
- How long should I expect to be in an active phase of treatment?
What limitations should I expect on my usual routine, and for how long?
- How much time should I plan on taking off from work?
- Should I look into getting help around the house?
- Will ovarian cancer treatment affect my sexual activity?
- What are my chances of being completely cured of my cancer?
Will cancer and/or the treatment affect my fertility?
- Should I consider harvesting and preserving my eggs before treatment?
- How long do I have to wait to know how effective my treatment was?
- If I am not cured, will I receive other treatment?
American Cancer Society Web site.
Available at: http://www.cancer.org
Accessed: November 29, 2002
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine , 14th ed. McGraw-Hill, 1998.
National Cancer Institute Web site.
Available at: http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancer_information
Accessed: November 29, 2002
Last reviewed February 2003 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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