Two women in conversation, one wearing a headscarf.

Follow-up care for ovarian cancer

Thanks to advan­ces in medi­ci­ne, sur­vi­val rates are incre­asing, and can­cer can more and more often be view­ed as a chro­nic dise­a­se. In the wes­tern world, more than 65% sur­vi­ve can­cer for more than five years. In Ger­ma­ny alo­ne the­re are around four mil­li­on long-term sur­vi­vors after can­cer. Long-term sur­vi­vors incre­asing­ly include women with or after ova­ri­an can­cer: around a third of women beco­me long-term sur­vi­vors. Despi­te the incre­asing num­ber of long-term sur­vi­vors, the topic of long-term sur­vi­val has recei­ved very litt­le atten­ti­on in both the lay press and scientifically.


How does the after­ca­re work?


All women with ova­ri­an, fallo­pian tube, or peri­to­ne­al can­cer should recei­ve fol­low-up care after com­ple­ting the­ra­py. This should be done on an out­pa­ti­ent basis in clo­se coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween resi­dent doc­tors and cli­nics. After­ca­re is also unders­tood as care and has the fol­lo­wing goals:

  • psycho-onco­lo­gi­cal support
  • psy­cho­so­cial support
  • Initia­ti­on of reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on measures
  • Fol­low-up dia­gno­stics (cli­nic)
  • Pre­ven­ti­ve care (e.g. breast cancer)
  • Sup­port­i­ve tre­at­ments (e.g. for nau­sea or diarrhea)
  • Ensu­ring and opti­mi­zing com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on (doc­tor-pati­ent / doc­tor-doc­tor / patient-patient)
  • Qua­li­ty control

After­ca­re also includes inten­si­fied can­cer scree­ning. In par­ti­cu­lar, pati­ents with can­cer of the ova­ries, fallo­pian tubes and peri­to­ne­um should regu­lar­ly, depen­ding on their tumor stage, H. Once a month, do a breast self-exami­na­ti­on and take part in the mam­mo­gra­phy scree­ning (X‑ray exami­na­ti­on of the breast tis­sue). The­se recom­men­da­ti­ons are based, on the one hand, on the fact that breast can­cer is the most com­mon tumor in women any­way and, on the other hand, on the fact that the risk of breast can­cer is slight­ly hig­her for women with ova­ri­an, fallo­pian tube and peri­to­ne­um can­cer. Howe­ver, after­ca­re always has to be adapt­ed to the patient’s indi­vi­du­al situa­ti­on. The gene­ral recom­men­da­ti­ons are inten­ded only as a guide.

Sin­ce the risk of recur­rence of ova­ri­an, fallo­pian tube and peri­to­ne­um can­cer is par­ti­cu­lar­ly high within the first three years after the ope­ra­ti­on, the exami­na­ti­on inter­vals should be clo­ser during this peri­od (ten to twel­ve weeks).

Then, depen­ding on the situa­ti­on, six-month inter­vals are dis­play­ed. It is gene­ral­ly recom­men­ded that the exami­na­ti­ons be car­ri­ed out annu­al­ly after the fifth year. Recom­men­da­ti­ons for the fol­low-up procedure:

  • detail­ed medi­cal history
  • Ultra­sound (through the vagi­na and through the abdo­mi­nal wall)
  • gyneco­lo­gi­cal exami­na­ti­on (inclu­ding rec­tal examination)

It should be noted cri­ti­cal­ly that the bene­fit of a rou­ti­ne CA-125 con­trol for the sur­vi­val of the pati­ents has not yet been pro­ven by stu­dies. The deter­mi­na­ti­on of tumor mar­kers can also place con­sidera­ble psy­cho­lo­gi­cal stress on the pati­ent. Dis­cuss the use of the tumor mar­ker with your medi­cal team!


How long is after­ca­re necessary?


Fol­low-up care for women with gyneco­lo­gi­cal can­cer lasts five to ten years; after that, tho­se affec­ted are usual­ly con­side­red cured. Howe­ver, more than half of the­se women still suf­fer from long-term side effects, such as B. Fati­gue, incon­ti­nence and neu­ro­lo­gi­cal com­plaints that have a las­ting impact on your qua­li­ty of life. So far the­re is no cont­act point in Ger­ma­ny who sup­port affec­ted women in redu­cing the long-term side effects of their can­cer tre­at­ment and impro­ving their qua­li­ty of life.

In the Sur­vi­vor­ship pro­ject, a con­sul­ta­ti­on hour for women with gyneco­lo­gi­cal can­cer more than eight years ago is to be estab­lished and eva­lua­ted at the Cli­nic for Gyneco­lo­gy with the Cen­ter for Onco­lo­gi­cal Sur­gery of the Cha­ri­té. It should be exami­ned whe­ther such a con­sul­ta­ti­on impro­ves the qua­li­ty of life of the women con­cer­ned and is cost-effec­ti­ve. In addi­ti­on, it will be inves­ti­ga­ted whe­ther the long-term side effects of gyneco­lo­gi­cal can­cer can be bet­ter reco­gni­zed and treated.

More infor­ma­ti­on at:


Can I go back to the sau­na after the tre­at­ment is over?


In prin­ci­ple the­re is not­hing wrong with going to the sau­na. It should be noted, howe­ver, that the­re are no serious car­dio­vas­cu­lar dise­a­ses. You should the­r­e­fo­re dis­cuss this topic in detail with your trea­ting phy­si­ci­an. It is important that you are accom­pa­nied to the sau­na so that you can get help quick­ly if neces­sa­ry. The sau­na ses­si­ons should be well dosed and not too intense.

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