Just Diagnosed With Ovarian Cancer -- Now What?
How to Weigh Your OptionsThe questions you have to discuss with your healthcare provider will help you to determine which treatment options will work best for your situation. Although these questions may be just the tip of the iceberg, it's a good start when trying to find the right treatment path. However, these initial questions are just the first step in your journey.
Many different healthcare providers often work together to create an overall treatment plan that combines a number of different options. This group of healthcare providers is called a multidisciplinary team. In general, ovarian cancer is treated using surgery and chemotherapy. However, the specific plan will vary, depending on the type and stage of the cancer, your age, possible side effects, whether you want to have children, and various other factors.
Take the time you need to become informed about your treatment options, and work with your multidisciplinary team to choose the plan that fits for you. If you have concerns or if something isn't quite clear, talk with your care team about the goals of each treatment and what you can expect during the process.
(Click Ovarian Cancer Treatment for more details on the various options available, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.)
Considering a Clinical TrialFor some women, the standard treatments may not be the best option for them. Clinical trials may be something to consider in these cases. A clinical trial is a type of research study that tests a new treatment to determine if it is safe, effective, and potentially better than the standard treatment options. Some women may be willing to risk the uncertainty of a clinical trial in the hopes of better results. Others may find comfort in knowing that their participation in a clinical trial may benefit the future treatment of ovarian cancer for other women.
Before making the decision to participate in a clinical trial, talk to your healthcare provider about the studies that are available, along with the possible risks and benefits. Learning more about your type of cancer can help you determine whether participating in a clinical trial is right for you. Some items to discuss with your healthcare provider may include:
- Learning about the various clinical trials that are offered and how they work
- Talking to your healthcare provider about which trials might be right for you
- Finding out the risks and benefits involved in each trial.
As with any form of treatment, there are pros and cons with clinical trials. Some of the potential benefits may include:
- Access to new treatments that are not yet available to the public
- Receiving expert medical care at some of the top healthcare facilities
- Helping further medical research for future women with ovarian cancer.
And, of course, there are potential risks as well, such as:
- Unknown side effects
- The treatment may not be effective
- You may have to travel more for trips to the site of the clinical study
- The new treatment may not be immediately available once the clinical trial is completed.
Discussing the option of clinical trials with your healthcare provider and family can help you determine whether this may be a possible option for your particular situation. Some women may decide that the risks outweigh the potential benefits, while others may be willing to take those risks to try a new treatment. It may also help to read stories of people who have gone through clinical trials and learn why they decided to participate.