Start by making an appointment with your family doctor, general practitioner or a gynecologist if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If your primary care doctor suspects you have ovarian cancer, you may be referred to a specialist in female reproductive cancers (gynecologic oncologist). A gynecologic oncologist is an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB-GYN) who has additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian and other gynecologic cancers.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.
- Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
- Write down key personal information, including any major changes or stressors in your life.
- Make a list of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.
- Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatments are available, and what side effects can I expect?
- What is the prognosis?
- If I still want to have children, what options are available to me?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may make time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:
June 12, 2014
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Do you have any relatives with ovarian or breast cancer?
- Are there other cancers in your family history?
- Chen L, et al. Overview of epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Mann WJ, et al. Epithelial ovarian cancer: Initial surgical management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Lentz GM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 17, 2014.
- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 17, 2014.
- Hoffman BL, et al. Williams Gynecology. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=768. Accessed Feb. 17, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Chen L, et al. Epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 12, 2014.
- Gershenson DB, et al. Overview of sex cord-stromal tumors of the ovary. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Chen L, et al. Epithelial carcinoma of the ovary, fallopian tube, and peritoneum: Epidemiology and risk factors. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Havrilesky LJ, et al. Oral contraceptive pills as primary prevention for ovarian cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2013;122:139.
- Trabert B, et al. Aspirin, nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and acetaminophen use and risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer: A pooled analysis in the ovarian cancer association. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2014. In press. Accessed Feb. 18, 2014.
- Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 10, 2014.