September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, a time to recognize the impact of ovarian cancer, educate others and ourselves about this type of cancer and take action.
As anyone who has been touched by ovarian cancer knows, the diagnosis comes with significant challenges for women diagnosed as well as their loved ones. Aside from a variety of informational needs, there are many challenges that women face related to their emotional, physical and sexual health.
To better understand the informational and psychosocial needs of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the Cancer Support Community conducted a national online survey.
Nearly half of the women who responded were newly diagnosed. The other half of women were diagnosed one or more years earlier. The survey found that these women expressed a great deal of concern about many issues throughout their treatment, including:
Communicating with their health care team (41.3%)
Managing fear of recurrence (48.0%)
Staying healthy during (56.0%) and after (51.4%) treatment
Managing fear of death (51.4%)
Communicating with family members about their disease (35.7%) and genetic risk (30.4%)
Resources for financial aspects of cancer care (55.3%), and sexuality and relationship issues (46.8%)
In response to the findings collected from this survey, the Cancer Support Community developed a fact sheet, Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Ovarian Cancer, which addresses the informational and psychosocial challenges listed above.
In addition, many respondents reported that they would be interested in joining a support group with other ovarian cancer survivors. The need to connect with others, even after treatment, is important to women who are living with ovarian cancer. Many feel that having a community of women who have lived through similar experiences and challenges is both comforting and therapeutic. The Cancer Support Community offers in-person and online support through our Affiliate Network and online support groups.
CSC also continually aims to better understand the unmet needs of ovarian and all cancer survivors. The Cancer Experience Registry is an online, grassroots community where people share their social and emotional experiences with cancer. It is a research project driven by anyone who has ever received a cancer diagnosis and their caregivers.
Our hope is through the sharing of these experiences, we can use this information to not only create new programs and resources for people touched by cancer, but also bring forward a collective patient and caregiver voice to health care providers, policymakers and others to help improve the cancer experience.
If you have questions, you may reach out to CSC’s Cancer Support Helpline® at 1-888-793-9355. Our Helpline is staffed by licensed call counselors who are available to speak with you to answer your questions and direct you to resources that are available.