My Ovacome
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question about oc

My sister had ovarian cancer, went through a full hysterectomy and chemotherapy treatments in 2000. Since that time she has had to go back for chemotherapy a few times and a couple small surgeries as the cancer spread to other areas. I should also mention that she has been on maintenance chemotherapy drugs, of some sort, now for about a year. She is very guarded and does not like to talk about it in any way, shape or fashion. Mostly, she tries her best to pretend she doesn't have it. She says it is something that happened to her not who she is.

She has said it does not look good but she is already on the winning side of the odds. She has pretty much accepted this may get her in the end but intends to live a long time while it tries. I so want to understand but respect her way of dealing with it. How can she have ovarian cancer if there are no longer any female organs? What do you call the cancer? Ovarian? Does the recurrences and maintenance drug regime mean she is labeled terminal? I would be appreciative of any insight, guesses, words you have for me. Thank you.

6 Replies

All I know is if the cancer starts in the ovaries where ever it goes it's still called ovarian cancer as that's how it started, like your mum I try not to give into it and take the medicine I am given to keep it back, on my third line of chemo. Now hate it so much as it can make you very low but I know when it's done with luck I will get a few months remission and with my family , not sure I would go through it all if not for them. Support your mum and encourage her to cope with it as she does best she sounds as though she is doing very well. Love to you both jenny ps does she contribute to our site?


Sorry it's your sister not your mum I should have read your post properly before responding xx


First, I like the comment that your sister says. "it was something that happened to her. not who she is".

My opinion regarding OC:

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed by a cell type. Tumors are biopsied after surgery and the pathology done determines if it indeed is ovarian cancer, but there are a few different cell types for this kind of cancer. Most of the time they are able to tell that the cancer started with the ovaries. So, once diagnosed it is highly likely that she keeps the ovarian cancer diagnosis. We can develop different cancers in other areas such as the liver, etc... but the cell type can be the same. If surgery is not done to definitely check the cell type most likely they will refer to it as a spread of ovarian cancer.

Even though you are worried for your sister her surviving ovarian cancer 14 years is huge! This is a disease that normally is found when quite advanced. I personally would love to get 14 years.

Ovarian cancer does reoccur. I have had the disease 5 yrs and am getting ready most likely to start my 6th line of chemotherapy. We do have periods of remissions between getting chemo which I suspect your sister has experienced.

I don't like the word terminal. Yes, it usually means the current illness may be what causes your end of life. But I feel this term relates more to a situation when a person is in hospice or unable to provide any care for themselves. This is just my personal feeling.

Your sister seems to have a good attitude and is moving forward with her life. That is the toughest battle and I feel she is winning this fight. Stay positive with her. Don't consume yourself with all the medical mumble gumble. Your support is best thing you can provide her.

Good luck!



Hello, I too have had ovarian cancer for 3 years, had 2 lots of surgery and 2 lots of chemo. I had previously had a hysterectomy but they left the ovaries. To answer your question, the cancer starts in the ovaries or omentum and can spread to any area in the peritoneal cavity. Please do look at the Macmillan website or Target Ovarian Cancer website which will explain it all to you. If your sister's hospital has a Macmillan centre, they offer wonderful free beauty treatments and therapies and hopefully she has access to one of their support nurses.


I can see where your sister is coming from. I have OC since 2006. I had my third chemo regim completed in Feb last and on maintenance treatment. It is a difficult one. In between, I try to get on with my life but I am sad, angry and vunerable. I think that sometimes we tend to go around with a mask and pretend all is normal but what is normal. If you feel your sister is coping that is okay, if not well try and speak to the Macmillan nurses at her hospital or a gynae liason nurse. Hopefully where you are, there is a family support centre. Here in Cork, we have Arc Cancer Support House which supports the family as well as the patient in a confidential manner. Ovarian Cancer is now a more manageable disease than it was. Your sister could well be fed up, all you can do is be there for her. Maybe ask if she needs help with children or shopping or take her our for a cuppa or something like that


Ovarian cancer can be there without any female organs if there are still some cancer cells left in the body that were too small to be seen at operation, then they may grow into tumours. This has happened to me. I had all my female organs removed in early 2008 due to a rare type of ovarian cancer, but now have tumours in my abdomen of the same type of cancer with the same kind of cells, so it is still ovarian.



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