In most cases, surgery or radiation therapy for ovarian cancer will mean you are unable to conceive children. Before cancer treatment starts, ask your doctor or fertility specialist to explain the options available to you. If you have stage 1 ovarian cancer and have not yet reached menopause, you may be able to have surgery that leaves the uterus and one ovary in place (unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy). You will need to avoid pregnancy while on chemotherapy.
Many women experience a sense of loss when told that their reproductive organs will be removed or will no longer function. You may feel extremely upset if you cannot have children, and may worry about the impact of this on your relationship or future relationships. Even if your family is complete or you were not planning to have children, you may feel a sense of loss and grief.
If you have a partner, you may find it helpful to talk to them about your feelings. Speaking to a counsellor or gynaecological oncology nurse may also help.
For more on this, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or see Fertility and cancer.
A/Prof Sam Saidi, Senior Staff Specialist, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; A/Prof Penny Blomfield, Gynaecological Oncologist, Hobart Women’s Specialists, and Chair, Australian Society of Gynaecologic Oncologists, TAS; Dr Robyn Cheuk, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Kim Hobbs, Clinical Specialist Social Worker, Gynaecological Cancer, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Sonja Kingston, Consumer; Clinical A/Prof Judy Kirk, Head, Familial Cancer Service, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead Hospital, and Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Prof Linda Mileshkin, Medical Oncologist and Clinical Researcher, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Support Team, Ovarian Cancer Australia; Emily Stevens, Gynaecology Oncology Nurse Coordinator, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Dr Amy Vassallo, Fussell Family Foundation Research Fellow, Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW; Merran Williams, Consumer.
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