Nutrition and physical activity
It's important for women with ovarian cancer to take care of themselves. Taking care of yourself includes eating well and staying as active as you can. You need the right amount of calories to maintain a good weight. You also need enough protein to keep up your strength. Eating well may help you feel better and have more energy.
Sometimes, especially during or soon after treatment, you may not feel like eating. You may be uncomfortable or tired. You may find that foods do not taste as good as they used to. In addition, the side effects of treatment (such as poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, or mouth sores) can make it hard to eat well. Your doctor, a registered dietitian, or another health care provider can suggest ways to deal with these problems.
Many women find they feel better when they stay active. Walking, yoga, swimming, and other activities can keep you strong and increase your energy. Whatever physical activity you choose, be sure to talk to your doctor before you start. Also, if your activity causes you pain or other problems, be sure to let your doctor or nurse know.
You will need regular checkups after treatment for ovarian cancer. Even when there are no longer any signs of cancer, the disease sometimes returns because undetected cancer cells remained somewhere in your body after treatment.
Checkups help ensure that any changes in your health are noted and treated if needed. Checkups may include a pelvic exam, a CA-125 test, other blood tests, and imaging exams.
If you have any health problems between checkups, contact your doctor.
Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). They are studying new and better ways to prevent, detect, and treat ovarian cancer.
Clinical trials are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective. Research already has led to advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective methods. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect their patients.
Among the research being conducted:
- Prevention studies: For women who have a family history of ovarian cancer, the risk of developing the disease may be reduced by removing the ovaries before cancer is detected. This surgery is called prophylactic oophorectomy. Women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer are taking part in trials to study the benefits and harms of this surgery. Other doctors are studying whether certain drugs can help prevent ovarian cancer in women at high risk.
- Screening studies: Researchers are studying ways to find ovarian cancer in women who do not have symptoms.
- Treatment studies: Doctors are testing novel drugs and new combinations. They are studying biological therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies which can bind to cancer cells, interfering with cancer cell growth and the spread of cancer.
If you are interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk with your doctor or visit at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials. NCI's Information Specialists at 1-800-4-CANCER or at LiveHelp at http://www.cancer.gov/help can answer questions and provide information about clinical trials as well.