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    Ovarian Cancer

    Ovarian Cancer Support Services and Follow-up Care

    We understand that an ovarian cancer diagnosis can be emotionally challenging, and that treatment can be physically demanding. When you become a patient at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), our medical, nursing, and support teams make sure you receive the best and most comprehensive care every step of the way.

    As a DF/BWCC patient, you, your loved ones, and your family have access to an extensive array of support programs and services that address issues you may face before, during, and after your treatment.

    For a full list of our support services, as well as contact information, download Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center's Supportive Resources brochure. 

    Finding support and managing side effects

    Fatigue and depression

    Fatigue can be a symptom of ovarian cancer, as well as a common side effect of its treatment. Coping with a diagnosis and new physical changes can be overwhelming. Our Adult Psychosocial Oncology Program team is here to help you manage fatigue, depression, and other stresses that may result from your diagnosis or treatment. Maintaining the best quality of life for you and your loved ones is our goal.

    Sexual concerns

    For some ovarian cancer patients, cancer treatments may reduce the female hormones naturally produced by your body, sometimes bringing about symptoms similar to menopause, such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, or loss of sexual interest. Changes like these and other treatment side effects often raise questions about your ongoing sexual health and relationships. DF/BWCC offers private, expert counseling and education through our Sexual Health Program to help you prepare for and manage any sexual health concerns before, during, or after cancer treatment.


    Ovarian cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation may affect your fertility or ability to reproduce. If you are concerned about having children, we encourage you and your loved ones to speak to our fertility and reproductive specialists. You may want to consider egg or embryo freezing (freezing and storing eggs for later use) before treatment.

    Find out more about fertility issues for women after cancer treatment.

    Complementary and integrative therapies

    Many of our patients with ovarian cancer benefit from consulting with experts at the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies. Services provided range from acupuncture and massage to Reiki and music therapy. Our patients treated at the Zakim Center credit its services with easing nausea, improving circulation, and reducing pain, stress, and anxiety associated with cancer treatment.

    Exercise classes and consults

    Our team encourages you to remain active during your treatment. Studies show exercise can help both during and after cancer treatment, strengthening the body, improving mood, and reducing fatigue. Our exercise physiologist can design a safe, effective program tailored to your particular situation and needs.

    Genetic testing and counseling

    Cancer is not usually an inherited disease. However, certain families with a history of certain cancers or certain genetic mutations, such as the BRCA mutations, may inherit abnormal genes that place them at greater risk of developing the disease. It may be helpful for you or your family members to pursue genetic tests to understand your risk and prevention options. Trained specialists at Dana-Farber's Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program offer advanced genetic tests, advise on whether to have gene testing for cancer, and counsel you and your family on the best course of action based on the results.

    Pain management and care

    Palliative care is often misunderstood. Many associate it with end-of-life care or “giving up” — especially with a serious health diagnosis like cancer. However, palliative care is best explained as an extra layer of support that helps reduce the symptoms, pain, or stress often associated with illnesses. Early on, it can help make medical treatments more tolerable. At later stages, it can reduce suffering, help you carry on with daily life, assist you in planning for future medical care, and provide support for those living with a life-threatening illness. The experts at the Adult Palliative Care Program at DF/BWCC provide comfort and coping mechanisms for all ovarian cancer patients.

    Counseling and social work

    Our licensed social workers are here to help you and your loved ones face the various familial, psychological, and emotional concerns that follow a cancer diagnosis. We offer practical support and assistance, and consider the needs of each patient and family.

    Find out more about these and other services provided by our Adult Social Work Program.

    Support for young adults

    If you are a young woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you face very different challenges from women diagnosed later in adulthood. When first diagnosed, you are often still building intimate relationships and learning how to develop work, school, family, or emotional connections.

    The Young Adult Program at Dana-Farber (YAP@DFCI) provides opportunities to connect with and learn from other young adult patients (ages 18-39) like you. The YAP mission is to provide clinical services and programs that support your particular needs as a young person and connect with other patients and survivors in a similar situation.

    Find out more about these and other services provided by our Young Adult Program.

    Nutritional guidance

    DF/BWCC has one of the largest outpatient oncology nutrition departments in the country. Our nutritionists are registered dietitians, skilled at handling your nutrition needs at any stage of cancer. They help you manage side effects of treatment, such as loss of appetite or nausea, assist with weight loss or gain, and answer your questions about the latest findings on cancer nutrition.

    Find out more about our nutrition services.

    Managing physical changes

    Located on the first floor of the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care at Dana-Farber, Friends' Place is a boutique dedicated to the cosmetic needs of cancer patients. Friends' Place provides personal consultations to help cancer patients of all ages cope with changes in physical appearance, such as hair loss, that result from cancer treatment.

    Our experienced, compassionate team provides private fittings for special compression garments, which can reduce the swelling caused by lymphedema (a condition resulting from certain cancer treatments). They also offer private fittings for wigs and other head coverings, as well as make-up and skincare advice.

    Find out more about the Friends' Place boutique.

    A road map for living well

    Survivorship care

    We believe that all patients in the Gynecologic Treatment Center should receive expert survivorship care in the same way that they receive outstanding cancer care — in a comprehensive, personalized way.

    At the Adult Survivorship Program, we are committed to finding solutions for living well after cancer and providing multidisciplinary medical care after treatment.

    Find additional information, resources, and support for living well beyond cancer.

    Follow-up testing

    Your relationship with your ovarian cancer physicians at DF/BWCC may continue after treatment, or care may transfer back to your primary gynecologist. With either option, it's important to schedule standard clinical exams after ovarian cancer treatment to identify recurrence, and prevent or control any long-term effects associated with the disease or treatment.

    Explore additional programs and services for our patients and their families at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital. 

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