World Ovarian Cancer Day, observed on May 8th, serves as a global initiative to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and support individuals affected by this life-threatening disease. While the focus of this day is primarily on physical health, it is crucial to recognise the significant impact ovarian cancer can have on mental well-being. Together, let´s explore the connection between ovarian cancer and mental health and discuss strategies for nurturing mental well-being on World Ovarian Cancer Day and beyond.

Understanding ovarian cancer and mental health: Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries, the female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs and hormones. Being diagnosed with ovarian cancer can evoke a range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, sadness and uncertainty. Coping with the physical symptoms, treatment side effects and the uncertainty of the future can take a toll on mental well-being, leading to increased stress, depression and anxiety.

The interplay between ovarian cancer and mental health: The diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer can have a profound impact on mental health, affecting both patients and their loved ones. Patients may experience a range of emotional responses, including shock, denial, anger and grief, as they navigate the challenges of cancer diagnosis, treatment decisions and survivorship. Additionally, caregivers and family members may also experience significant psychological distress as they support their loved ones through the cancer journey.

Strategies for nurturing mental well-being with ovarian cancer:

  • Open communication: Foster open and honest communication with your healthcare team, loved ones and support networks about your emotions, concerns and needs. Don’t hesitate to seek professional support from counsellors, therapists or support groups specialising in cancer care.
  • Self-care practices: Prioritise self-care practices that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as mindfulness meditation, journaling, relaxation techniques and engaging in activities that bring you joy and comfort. Taking time for yourself amidst the challenges of cancer treatment can help alleviate stress and improve overall quality of life.
  • Support systems: Surround yourself with a supportive network of family members, friends and fellow cancer survivors who can provide emotional support, encouragement and practical assistance. Participating in support groups or online communities can also connect you with others who understand and empathise with your experiences.
  • Mind-body connection: Explore mind-body practices such as yoga, tai chi or guided imagery to promote relaxation, reduce stress and enhance emotional resilience. These practices can help you cope with the physical and emotional challenges of ovarian cancer and improve your overall well-being.
  • Focus on positivity: Cultivate a positive mindset by focusing on moments of gratitude, hope and resilience throughout your cancer journey. Celebrate small victories, practise self-compassion and acknowledge your strengths and accomplishments along the way.

On World Ovarian Cancer Day 2024, let’s not only raise awareness about ovarian cancer but also recognise the importance of nurturing the mental well-being of individuals affected by this disease. By understanding the connection between ovarian cancer and mental health and implementing strategies for self-care and support, we can empower patients and their loved ones to navigate the cancer journey with resilience, courage and hope. Remember, you are not alone in your journey and support is available to help you cope and thrive.