Coping with a New Diagnosis

Coping with a New Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with ovarian cancer is an upsetting and overwhelming experience. Very often after diagnosis, women feel very alone. We’re here to help you.

There is no wrong or right way to feel after receiving an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Most women feel incredibly shocked and upset. They are worried for themselves and those they love. Having fears is a natural and expected reaction, especially at the time of diagnosis when you fear the unknown. Once you and your doctor have decided on a treatment plan, you will have a way to move through your concerns.

No one should ever cope with ovarian cancer alone. There are many resources and support services available for you, your family and your friends. We are here to support you.

Building Your Medical Team

Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two ovarian cancers are exactly the same, either.  Find a Gynecological Oncologist to treat you (ask your primary care doctor or gynecologist for a referral). Survival is significantly improved when a gynecologic oncologist performs the surgery. Your doctor will build a treatment plan designed just for you. Talk with your doctor about enrolling in a clinical trials. We offer a free matching service to look for a clinical trial (link to clinical trials).

 Your Medical Team may include:

  • Your Gynecological Oncologist

  • An Oncology Nurse

  • A Clinical Trials Specialist

  • A Medical Oncologist

  • A Genetic Counselor

  • Other healthcare professionals (physiotherapist, dietitian, Social worker, psychologist or counselor)

 Read about treatment options

Consider getting a Second Opinion

Just as it is normal to shop around for a house or car, it is acceptable for patients to seek multiple opinions to safeguard their health. A second opinion provides different perspectives and serves as a quality check.

Building Your Support Network

It is important to build a good support network around you. Breaking the news that you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer can be just as difficult as first hearing that news from your doctor. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are the one who guides the conversation and decides how much information you do or do not wish to share.

Your support network may include:

  •  Your family and friends

  • A cancer (oncology) nurse

  • Other healthcare professionals (physiotherapist, dietitian, Social worker, psychologist or counselor)

  • Your family minister, priest or other spiritual adviser

  • Members of a cancer support group

One of the most common worries after finishing treatment is the fear of the cancer coming back. Having these fears is an expected reaction. You have been on this roller coaster ride and now the roller coaster has stopped. When you get off, many feelings and worries come to light. This is an important time to seek support and we are here for you. It’s important to remember that not all women with ovarian cancer have a recurrence. But if you do, there are many treatments available to help.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices


Plant predominate diet 

Including more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds on your plate at each meal can have a protective effect on your health.  Tea, spices and herbs count too!  

Why are eating plants beneficial?  Here’s a few reasons: 

  • Plants contain fiber.  Fiber helps remove excess hormones, like estrogen, and toxins from your body with regular bowel management.

  • Phytonutrients are natural compounds found in plant foods that can help prevent DNA damage, assist with DNA repair, reduce inflammation in the body, and support immune system function, all important protection against cancer.  

  • Antioxidants, found in whole, plant foods, are molecules that neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules that can harm your cells and linked to multiple illnesses, including cancer. 

Eat a variety of whole, plant foods at every meal.  They all work in symphony together to benefit your health.  The more colorful your plate, the better! 

Other Healthy Lifestyle Choices 

Maintaining a Healthy Weight (BMI 18.5-24.9) 

Why? Excess fat cells produce hormones.  Also, obesity is linked to higher levels of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and increases inflammation and oxidative stress, all linked to increased risk of cancer.

Exercise Regularly  

Why? It improves your mood, helps control weight, boosts immunity, regulates hormones and so much more!  

Stress Management  Do anything that you enjoy: yoga, breathing, nature walk, your favorite hobby, meditation, mindfulness.  

Why? Stress increases inflammation and weakens the immune system.  

Stay connected with social support.  Whether it’s virtual or in-person, having a network of friends/family or a support group/person is so helpful.

Why? Helps us manage stress and anxiety and prevents us from feeling lonely and isolated. 

Get a good night’s sleep

Why?   Adequate sleep at night helps your cells repair, your 

body heal, and supports a healthy immune system.  

Do not smoke and avoid/reduce exposure to harsh chemicals. 

Why?  Smoking and these chemicals increase toxins in the body.

Limit Alcohol.

Why?  Alcohol can increase estrogen levels and damage DNA.

Additional Resources

For more information on evidence-based, whole food plant-based eating, please visit:

Books Written by Cancer Thrivers/Survivors and their Websites:

Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark and Live Like you Mean It! by Kris Carr, 2011, author of several other books on the subject

Beyond Cancer: The Powerful Effect of Plant-Based Eating.  How to Adopt a Plant-Based Diet to Optimize Cancer Survival and Long-Term Health by Sally Lipsky, 2017

Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Oncology Nutrition 

Alison Tierney, MS, RD, CD, CSO, Founder, Wholesome LLC

American Institute for Cancer Research – Nutrition Hotline to Registered Dieticians: