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The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Questions for Your Doctors

In our efforts to empower every patient, the Johns Hopkins Ovarian Cancer Center has developed a list of questions that may help guide your treatment decisions.

Questions to Ask Your Physician

If you have an ovarian cyst or mass and have been recommended to undergo surgery for a suspected or possible ovarian cancer:

  • What are the other options besides surgery?
  • What are the chances that it is ovarian cancer?
  • Is it necessary to have the surgery performed by a gynecologic oncologist or to have one available in the event that it is ovarian cancer?
  • How many of these types of operations does your surgeon do per year?
  • What type of incision will be made?
  • Is laparoscopy appropriate?
  • Will removal of the opposite ovary and / or uterus be necessary?
  • Will a staging procedure be necessary?
  • What is likelihood of needing a bowel resection?
  • What are the risks and possible complications of the planned surgery?
  • If there is any doubt, consider obtaining a second opinion.

If you have recently undergone surgery and been diagnosed with ovarian cancer:

  • What is the stage of the cancer?
  • Was all of the cancer removed at surgery?
  • What is the cell type and ‘grade’ of the cancer?
  • Is additional treatment necessary, and if so why?
  • What chemotherapy is recommended and what are the likely side-effects?
  • Who do you contact to manage side-effects of therapy?
  • Are there things you might do to minimize the risk of side-effects?
  • What are the chances of a cancer recurrence?
  • What are the warning signs of a cancer recurrence?
  • Would it be appropriate to consider further treatment in a clinical trial?
  • When can you resume a physical fitness / rehabilitation program?
  • When is it safe to resume sexual activity?
  • Is the cancer associated with a genetic or hereditary risk? If so, is counseling available for your female family members?

Ask the Expert

Answers to your general questions on a variety of ovarian cancer topics.