Living With And After a Gynaecological Cancer (a cancer of the womb, ovary, cervix, vulva, vagina or fallopian tube)
The experience of having cancer can impact on different aspects of your life; physical, emotional, spiritual and financial, as well as on your relationships and your identity.
When you have completed treatment, having information and feeling supported, knowing who to contact and when, can help to reduce uncertainty and anxiety. Spending time with others who have had similar experiences can be helpful for some people and there are local support groups as well as nationally organised forums. In addition the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre runs “Living well with cancer” courses for individuals which can be residential or day attendance and are held near Bristol.
This page lists some organisations who may be able to provide help, information and support in different ways.
Target Ovarian Cancer: Tel: 020 7923 5470; www.targetovariancancer.org.uk
Ovacome (Ovarian cancer): Tel: 0845 371 0554; www.ovacome.org.uk
JO’s Trust (Cervix cancer): Tel: 0207 936 7498; www.jotrust.co.uk
Macmillan Cancer Support: Tel: 0808 800 1234; www.macmillan.org.uk
Cancer Research UK: Tel: 0808 800 4040; www.cancerhelp.org.uk
Somerset Cancer Care: Tel: 0845 070 8910; www.somerset-hospice.org.uk/Patient+Services/somersetcancercare
Penny Brohn Cancer Care: Tel: 0845 123 2310; www.pennybrohncancercare.org
The Lymphoedema Support Network: Tel: 020 7351 4480; www.lymphoedema.org
What symptoms shall I look out for?
Cancer is difficult to forget. Anxieties may remain as you finish your treatment. You are likely to be more aware of your body now that your treatment has finished and may notice even small changes in how you feel from day to day. If you find you become anxious when you have aches and pains, coughs and colds, remember these are not necessarily linked to the cancer coming back, they can be caused by other things. A booklet “Worrying about cancer coming back” is available from Macmillan Cancer Support (Freephone 0808 808 0000).
However if there are symptoms that do not go away, you should tell us or your GP about them. They may not be of any significance but we would be keen to rule out any serious cause.
Please talk to us or your GP about any of the following:
- vaginal bleeding or discharge
- abdominal pain lasting more than 4 – 8 hours, especially if it is ‘colicky’ or intermittent
- abdominal swelling or feeling a lump
- change in bowel habit lasting more than a few days without any cause such as going on holiday/change of diet
- needing to pass urine more often or new unintentional leaking
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation or loss of appetite that cannot be attributed to food poisoning or community infection
- loss of appetite or weight
- a feeling of abdominal bloating (especially if it occurs on waking in the morning or after only a small meal) that lasts for more than 2 – 3 days.
- other symptoms you have been told to watch for or any other symptoms that do not go away
You can contact the Gynaecological Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust on 01823 343627.