Ovarian Cancer: After Treatment

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about your medical care after cancer treatment is finished and why this follow-up care is important. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

After treatment for ovarian cancer ends, talk with your doctor about developing a follow-up care plan. This plan may include regular physical and pelvic examinations and/or medical tests to monitor your recovery for the coming months and years. Although there are no specific guidelines for follow-up care for women treated for ovarian cancer, many doctors recommend a pelvic examination every two to four months for the first two years after treatment, and every six months for the following three years. Other tests may include a chest x-ray, CT scan, urine tests, and blood tests, such as a CA-125 test. Women treated for ovarian cancer may have an increased risk of breast cancer or colon cancer, and they should talk with their doctors about screening tests for these cancers.

Any new problem should be reported to your doctor, including pain, loss of appetite or weight, changes in your menstrual cycle, unusual vaginal bleeding, urinary problems, blurred vision, dizziness, coughing, hoarseness, headaches, backaches or abdominal pain, bloating, or difficulty eating or digestive problems that seem unusual or don’t go away. These symptoms may be signs that the cancer has come back or signs of another medical condition.

ASCO offers cancer treatment summary forms to help keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship care plan once treatment is completed.

Women recovering from ovarian cancer are encouraged to follow established guidelines for good health, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, eating a balanced diet, and having recommended screening tests for other cancers. Talk with your doctor to develop a plan that is best for your needs. Moderate physical activity can help rebuild your strength and energy level. Your doctor can help you create an appropriate exercise plan based upon your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level. Learn more about the next steps to take in survivorship, including making positive lifestyle changes.

The next section offers a list of questions you may want to ask. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Questions to Ask the Doctor, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.