What’s Next for Newly Diagnosed Ovarian Cancer Patients?

After an ovarian cancer diagnosis, there are a lot of decisions to make and medical professionals to talk to about how to proceed with treatment. It’s only normal that you’d be full of emotions and questions. To help you prepare for what’s ahead in your ovarian cancer journey, we’ve tried to address some of the most commonly asked questions from new patients.

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What Kind of Doctor Should I See Next?

Ovarian cancer is a type of gynecologic cancer usually treated by gynecologic oncologists. A gynecologic oncologist is a highly specialized expert in cancers of a woman’s reproductive organs. These specialists recommend a course for treatment, oversee the entire cancer care plan, and in many cases, also perform surgery to remove the cancer as they are up-to-date on advanced surgical techniques.

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The Ovarian Cancer Care Team at Compass Oncology

Compass Oncology's cancer care team includes gynecologic oncologists and surgeons specializing in the needs of ovarian cancer patients in Portland, Tigard, OR, and Vancouver, WA. In addition to your gynecologic oncologist, who also performs surgery, your cancer care team will likely include the following: 

Radiation Oncologist
This type of oncologist plans and oversees any radiation therapy that is used as part of the ovarian cancer treatment process.
Advanced Practice Providers (APPs)
These providers work alongside your gynecologic oncologist. Some of your check-up appointments may be with an APP, so make sure you talk to them about how you’re feeling and any side effects, just as you would the oncologist.
Infusion Nurses
Infusion nurses are in the infusion room and help administer medications, like chemotherapy, through an IV line or an access port.
Radiation Technicians/Therapists
They will help position you for radiation treatments so that the radiation is delivered in the same place during every session.
Genetic Counselor
Because ovarian cancer can have a genetic connection to the mutated BRCA gene, a genetic counseling session may be set up to discuss genetic testing.
This person will help you with choosing foods that are best for you while going through cancer treatment.
Together this team helps patients with the treatments as well as the emotional and mental aspects of cancer treatment. Try to be open about how you’re feeling both physically and emotionally so they can guide you to the right types of resources.
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Free Guide for Newly Diagnosed Ovarian Cancer Patients

Get helpful tips from our team on what to expect and how to prepare your mind and body for gynecologic cancer treatment.

We hope this guide will make your path to ovarian cancer treatment a bit smoother.

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What Is the Extent of My Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer stages are typically expressed as a number on a scale of I through IV (1 -4) — with stage I representing cancer that's contained in the ovaries and stage IV representing cancers that have spread to other areas of the body. The results of the biopsy and the images taken will allow your oncologist to determine the extent of your ovarian cancer.

Which Ovarian Cancer Treatments Will I Receive?

Ovarian cancer treatments are based on various factors, including the type, stage of your cancer, and age.

More Than One Treatment for Ovarian Cancer is Common

For nearly all ovarian cancer patients, surgery is included to remove the ovaries and possibly other nearby organs where cancer has grown. Other treatments are used to be sure all cancer cells have been eliminated.

Several different types of medical oncology treatments are used for ovarian cancer, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be used. 

Are Treatments Given Before or After Surgery for Ovarian Cancer?

While surgery may seem like the logical first step, some women can benefit from a different approach that starts with other treatments. This approach, called neoadjuvant therapy, is used to shrink the amount of cancer that needs to be removed surgically. We strive to find the least invasive surgical approach that will also ensure that the cancer has been removed.

Should You Consider an Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trial?

The cancer specialists at Compass Oncology participate in ovarian cancer research as part of the process that brings new ovarian cancer treatments to patients in the Portland-Vancouver area and eventually across the entire country. While research trials are available at all of our locations throughout the Portland-Vancouver area, there are specific criteria that need to be met for participation. Talk to your gynecologic oncologist about whether there is a trial available to you.

Preparing for Your First Appointment

At your first oncology appointment, you’ll receive a lot of information in a short period of time. Here are some useful tips on how you can remember what you're told and keep track of questions you'd like to ask your ovarian cancer specialist.

Keep a Notebook

To stay organized, we suggest getting a notebook to keep a record of important information. This can include information such as how you’re feeling and what medicines or supplements you’re taking to any questions, thoughts, or observations you have regarding appointments and procedures. Try to put a date on everything you log down.

If a method other than paper works better for you, such as the notes feature on your smartphone, then commit to using it regularly. Having information written down (and on hand) can help keep the lines of communication open between you and your doctors.

Questions to Ask Your Specialist

  • What type of ovarian cancer do I have?
  • Has my cancer spread past the ovaries? 
  • What is the extent (stage) of my ovarian cancer, and what does it mean? 
  • What type of surgery is recommended for me? 
  • How long will my recovery time be? 
  • Will there need to be any other treatments? If yes, what would they be?
  • How long after surgery will my other treatments start? 
  • Will I receive any treatments before surgery? 
  • What kind of side effects should I expect from the treatments? 
  • How often will I receive treatments? 
  • Should I see any other types of doctors during treatment? If so, what types? 
  • Should I consider genetic testing? 
  • Will I be able to have sex after treatment is complete?
  • Will I be able to have children after treatment?
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After Gynecologic Cancer Treatment

Following ovarian cancer treatment, your doctors will want to monitor you closely. It’s very important to go to all of your follow-up appointments. These visits give your cancer care team an opportunity to address your questions and concerns, look for treatment-related side effects, and discuss other follow-up treatments that may be necessary. Our team at Compass Oncology is dedicated to not only helping patients during their treatment journey but providing gynecologic cancer support beyond treatment.

Should I Get a Second Opinion About My Diagnosis and Treatment Plan?

Feeling confident about your ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment plan is extremely important, which is why many patients choose to get a second opinion before beginning a specific treatment plan. At Compass Oncology, our physicians provide many second opinions on ovarian cancer and the best treatment plan. Many insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment, but it is still a good idea to contact your insurance provider for verification of coverage before booking the appointment.

Watch the video below to learn about the importance of a second opinion for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The oncologists at Compass Oncology are available to discuss your test results, cancer diagnosis, and options for treatment.

Gynecologic Cancer Specialists Caring for Patients
in Portland-Vancouver

We provide the latest ovarian cancer treatments to patients at our cancer centers in Tigard, Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA. Choose one that's convenient for you to request a consultation. 

East Office

5050 NE Hoyt St., Suite 256, Portland, OR 97213 Near Providence Hospital

Rose Quarter Cancer Center

265 N Broadway
Portland, OR 97227

Vancouver Cancer Center

210 SE 136th Avenue,
Vancouver, WA 98684

West Cancer Center

12123 SW 69th Avenue,
Tigard, OR 97223

Download the Guide for Women Diagnosed with Gynecologic Cancer