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Treatment Overview

(continued)

Body image and sexual problems

Your feelings about your body may change after treatment for cancer. Managing body image issues may involve talking about your concerns with your partner and discussing your feelings with your doctor. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to groups that can offer support and information.

Sexual problems can be caused by the physical or emotional effects of cancer or its treatment. Some women may feel less sexual pleasure or lose their desire to be intimate. For more information, see the topic Sexual Problems in Women.

Follow-up care

After treatment for ovarian cancer, it's important to receive follow-up care, because ovarian cancer may come back (recur). Your doctor will set up a schedule of checkups and tests.

If the cancer recurs or spreads (metastasizes), it's usually treated with chemotherapy. Surgery may also be done. Or your doctor may recommend that you join a clinical trial for treatment with surgery or immunotherapy.

The long-term outcome for recurrent ovarian cancer depends on whether the cancer has spread. Even with no sign of cancer after treatment, 3 to 5 out of 10 women who are treated for ovarian cancer have cancer return within 5 years. This also means that cancer doesn't recur within 5 years in 5 to 7 out of 10 women.8

Palliative care

Cancer treatment has two main goals: curing cancer and making your quality of life as good as possible. Palliative care can improve your quality of life by helping you manage your symptoms. It also can help you with other concerns that you may have when you are living with a serious illness.

For some people who have advanced cancer, a time comes when treatment to cure cancer no longer seems like a good choice. This can be because the side effects, time, and costs of treatment are greater than the promise of cure or relief.

But this isn't the end of treatment. It can be hard to decide when to stop treatment aimed at prolonging your life and shift the focus to end-of-life care. You and your doctor can decide when you may be ready for hospice care.

For more information, see:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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