Depression and Ovarian Cancer

Most anyone will agree that being diagnosed with a life threatening illness has a profound effect on emotional wellbeing and psychological health. How much more so, when the diagnosis is ovarian cancer, a disease with a high mortality rate.

Yet did you know that depression and anxiety do not have to be an added burden to carry, especially if you were diagnosed with the cancer today – nonetheless, it is responsible for a variety of dangerous and harmful behaviors?

Self Medicating

Take for example the patients who lack a nurturing support network and will turn to substance abuse in an effort to counteract the fears and depression that go hand in hand with the diagnosis; sadly the abuse of their already compromised body will make it all the harder for the medications and treatments to have a positive effect.

In addition to the depression brought on by the diagnosis, anxiety about medical bills, the financial future of the family, and how the children will continue on should the worst happen also grips those who lack a support network. Convinced they have to go it alone, it is this form of emotional upheaval that may result in far-reaching, unwise fiscal decisions.


In an interesting twist on depression in ovarian cancer patients, there are a large number of these individuals who instead of falling into substance abuse actually experience a time period of emotional and spiritual growth.

Since spirituality is all encompassing much like the cancer is threatening the whole of their existence the patients are gradually experiencing a paradigm shift permitting for a completely new outlook on and appreciation of life. Although healing is not guaranteed, the mind-body connection that is preventing the patient from succumbing to anxiety and fear and is instead strengthening the individual also serves to prepare the body for a better reception of medications and treatments.

Healthcare providers are urged to be on the lookout for psychiatric and emotional illnesses that may present concurrently with the cancer diagnosis or shortly thereafter.

Watch for Warning Signs

Even as it is not possible to completely ascertain how the individual patient may react to their diagnosis, the warning signs of impending depression may lead to a proactive approach to a physical and mental treatment of the whole patient, not just the cancer.

Granted, this requires the patient to have a reasonably open relationship with the physician or the treatment team, but in the absence of such a relationship, caregivers will be the primary point of contact.

It is interesting to note that at times caregivers have one of the hardest jobs when caring for a loved one with ovarian cancer: although not a medical professional, they are on call 24/7 and even as they are lacking the medical know how that would permit for the adequate treatment of the patient, they are nonetheless the first responder.

As such they will be wise to also forge a close bond with the physician or treatment team lead in an effort to have a point of contact should they need help, get advice, or simply find a support network for them.