Life after treatment for ovarian cancer
Being diagnosed with cancer can have a big impact on your life, even after you've finished treatment.
Once you’ve finished your treatment, you’ll have regular follow-up appointments at the hospital. You’ll have blood tests and sometimes other scans or x-rays. This is to see if the cancer has come back. It’s important to go to these appointments. Make a note of them in your phone or diary.
You might find it embarrassing to talk about your private parts and how the cancer or cancer treatment has affected them. It can feel awkward talking to doctors or your family about this.
Try not to let this put you off talking about things. It can be really helpful to let someone know how you're feeling, so that you don't bottle things up.
Doctors talked to me about the possible effects of chemo on fetility, and they told me to keep an eye on my menstrual cycle because sometimes your period can become irregular or stop altogether when you're on chemo. My periods have been okay though - they stayed regular.
Fertility means being able to get pregnant and have a baby.
Some cancer treatments can affect your fertility. Your doctors will always think very carefully about this when planning your treatment.
If one ovary is removed then the remaining one will carry on releasing eggs. If you’ve had both of your ovaries or your womb removed, you won’t be able to get pregnant or have a baby naturally.
This can be very upsetting on top of having to cope with having cancer. Many hospitals have doctors or counsellors specially trained to give you help and support. Our section on fertility has more detail, including information about fertility preservation and treatments.
You might also find it helpful to talk to other young people with cancer. You could see if your hospital has a support group. Or you could join our online community group for people who are 16-24 and living with cancer.
Having chemo could make your periods become irregular or stop. After chemo your periods should get back to normal, but it could take a few months. Remember this is a side effect of your treatment and it doesn’t mean you’re going to be infertile.
Sometimes doctors recommend that you take tablets during chemo that stop your periods, so that you don’t have any blood loss.
The menopause is when the ovaries stop producing hormones and a woman’s periods stop. It means you can no longer have children. Usually it happens when women are about 50.
Having both ovaries removed by an operation will cause the menopause to start straight away whatever your age.
Having radiotherapy to the ovaries will also cause infertility, but it will happen more gradually, over a few months.
Sometimes having chemo can also cause the menopause to start earlier than usual. This can be many years after your treatment has finished, even after your periods have come back. This is because chemotherapy can reduce the number of eggs you have.
Going into the menopause as a result of your treatment can be very upsetting. Your doctors will explain more about what it means and what they can do to help. You may be given hormones to replace the ones your ovaries are no longer producing - this is called hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Your doctor will let you know if you are suitable for this treatment.
An early menopause is a really difficult thing to cope with at a young age and you’ll need lots of support. There's more about this in the relationships, sex and fertility section.
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If you're looking for information about ovarian cancer in women of all ages please see our general ovarian cancer information.