Emily* is a 58-year-old postmenopausal female who visits complaining of abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling full quickly for the past six weeks. She also has frequent problems with indigestion, and states that she is unusually napping during the days. Emily is also experiencing increased urinary urgency and frequency on a persistent basis.
The GP suspects an ovarian cancer or other significant intra-abdominal pathology and consults the Ovarian Cysts pathway to verify their suspicions and the appropriate management approach. An ultrasound of abdomen and pelvis is completed where a large complex cyst is found. Following the discovery of the cyst a CA-125 is completed.
The results of Emily’s CA-125 come back and confirm her risk of malignancy to be high. The GP informs Emily of her results and seeks consent to refer her to a gynaecological oncologist (GYN-ONC).
The GYN-ONC recommends surgery to remove the ovary, which confirms an ovarian malignancy and subsequently, Emily undergoes chemotherapy.
Shocked by the diagnosis, Emily returns to her GP where she is provided with the “What to expect – Ovarian Cancer” and the helpline information for Ovarian Cancer Australia, to access a support group. These resources were located under the patient resource section on the Ovarian Cancer – Established pathway. After discharge from oncology services, around five years following active treatment, Emily’s GYNONC provides her GP with a cancer treatment summary letter, as per the OCP HealthPathway page, which outlines the proposed protocol for follow-up reviews. As per the Ovarian Cancer Follow-up pathway, the general practice schedules reminder and recalls for six months, and then annually thereafter.
Emily’s GP will focus on relapse prevention, including any medication, provision of psychosocial support, and management of any persisting physical symptoms, as per the Ovarian Cancer Follow-Up HealthPathway page.
*Not her real name.