By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer
Teresa Combs, mother of three,
lives in Granbury, TX and is an ovarian cancer survivor. She was 23
years old when first diagnosed with the disease. When questioned
about her experience, she said, “I wish my caregivers had been more
educated. I also wish I had been more educated about ovarian cancer.
There are so many things we know now that weren’t available when I
Combs is not alone. Ovarian
cancer has been a mystery to many, although since it is the eighth
most likely form of cancer to strike women, it shouldn’t be. It also
has the unfortunate “claim to fame” of being fifth on the list of
most likely to cause female cancer-related deaths.
Ovarian cancer may be difficult
for many people to discuss. Experts say one reason is that
caregivers have a natural protective tendency, feeling that the more
the cancer is discussed the more stress it causes.
the Lines of Communication:
There’s no doubt that a cancer
diagnosis is difficult and stressful. It is important to keep the
lines of communication open so that the caregiver is aware of what
the patient is thinking and feeling. At the same time, caregivers
need to encourage the patient to discuss feelings when they arise,
while respecting the need for personal space.
Recognizing that negative
emotions will arise can help both the patient and the caregiver. For
example, the patient may need reassurance that it is OK to feel sad
or frustrated. Expression of those emotions is, in fact, healthy and
encourages the patient to continue releasing feelings that can
adversely affect her health if they are otherwise “bottled up.”
Other ways to keep communication
flowing smoothly include
Most experts agree that keeping
communication open and honest will help reduce stress and avoid
confusion during the various stages of the disease’s diagnosis,
treatment and recovery.