COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the mental health of so many people of all ages. Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer also face an increased risk of mental illness. In fact, according to a recent study, “Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer were more than three times more likely than the general public to be diagnosed with anxiety, depression and adjustment disorder…in the first two years after diagnosis.1 Clearly, mental health screening among ovarian cancer patients is needed both at diagnosis, during treatments and throughout the course of their disease.
We all know when we don’t feel like ourselves. If you are feeling depressed and/or anxious more days than not for at least two weeks, and your change in mood is interfering with your daily functioning, it is critical to speak to your oncologist/primary care team. Whether seeking individual counseling, joining a support group or becoming paired with a peer mentor, these important connections can improve your emotional and physical wellbeing. Your doctor might indicate some medications to alleviate depression and/or anxiety in combination with counseling. It is critical to remove the stigma surrounding mental health struggles so that all individuals experiencing emotional challenges can get connected to the help that they need to live their best quality of life, both physically and emotionally.
If you are an Ovarian Cancer warrior looking for support, there are several different support groups you can turn to:
- OCRA Hope Woman2Woman Peer Support Group
- Clearity Foundation Psychosocial Support
- Norma Leah Ovarian Cancer Initiative Sisterly Advice
- Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation Support Services
- Ovarian Cancer Project Support Group
Additionally, if you are struggling with mental health there are online therapy programs you can utilize to get the help you need. Here are a few of our suggestions:
- Doctor on dEMAND
- 7 Cups
This blog post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or local emergency number immediately.
- Hu et al., Patients with Ovarian Cancer Face an Increased Risk in Mental Illness, Presented during the virtual American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, April 2021.