Those diagnosed with ovarian cancer frequently have precious little time to become accustomed to their illness and to adequately digest the information. Instead, they will suddenly find themselves in a whirlwind of activity, running from doctor’s appointment to specialist testing, and before long will find that their day planners are by and large dominated with medical procedures.
To understand what to expect after the diagnosis of ovarian cancer – what happens after the initial diagnosis but perhaps before the surgery – it is important to remember that your doctor will now call in as many team members to participate in your care as possible to assure that you have the highest likelihood of survival.
1.You will most likely meet with a specialist who will take a variety of x-rays. The goal behind these x-rays is to ascertain if the cancer has metastasized and if so, how far. Usually a chest x-ray will focus on the breast tissues and the lungs, while an intestinal x-ray will seek to ferret out any blockages in the gastrointestinal tract that may be due to tumor growth. This latter test frequently requires that use of a barium enema to provide the adequate light and shade options for maximum visibility of any growths.
2.A CT scan most likely will be next on the list of tests to be run. The goal is a thorough examination of the pelvic area and the surrounding tissues to find any spreading of the tumor and to localize the abnormal cell growth as much as possible.
3.Next will be a colonoscopy which is an instrumental test in determining whether or not a patient suffers from rectal or colon cancer, but in cases of confirmed ovarian cancer it is utilized to rule out any spread of the disease.
4.If it has not already been done, your physician will take a transvaginal ultrasound to determine the extent of the tumors, localize the affected ovary, and estimate the odds of the tumors spreading ? or already having spread ? to the other ovary. To be on the safe side, many physicians will suggest a complete hysterectomy even if only one ovary is affected. This test rules out the possibility of a cancer recurrence of the ovary and thus putting your life and health in jeopardy twice, although some women who are hoping to still bear a child will take the risk and only have a unilateral operation.
It is important to not allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tests and nail biting wait times in between testing and results but to remember that now that you have received your diagnosis of ovarian cancer you have a good chance at fighting the disease if indeed you take each and every step possible to get rid of the cancer. Only a concerted action between various specialists will set you up for beating this disease and denying it another life! Enlist the help of trusted friends and family members who will form your support network and make sure you keep each and every doctor’s appointment.
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