Coping with gestational trophoblastic disease (including molar pregnancy)

You might have a number of different feelings when you are told you have gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD). You may feel shocked and upset. You might also feel:

  • numb
  • frightened and uncertain
  • confused
  • angry and resentful
  • guilty

You may have some or all of these feelings. Or you might feel totally different. Everyone reacts in their own way. Sometimes it is hard to take in the fact that you have a GTD.

Feelings are a natural part of coming to terms with having a GTD. All sorts of feelings are likely to come and go.

Coping with loss

If you thought you were pregnant, you will be trying to accept and cope with the loss of your pregnancy, as well as trying to understand your diagnosis. If you have been pregnant your hormones may also be changing, and this often leads to mood changes.

It can take time to adjust to what has happened. So try and give yourself that time. If you are being seen, or have contact, with one of the 2 specialist GTD treatment centres in the UK you might be able to talk with a counsellor based there about your feelings. Ask your doctor or nurse about this.

Helping yourself

You are more able to cope and make decisions if you have information about your type of GTD and its treatment. Information also helps you know what to expect.

Taking in information can be difficult at first. Make a list of questions before you see your doctor. Take someone with you to remind you what you want to ask and help remember the answers. It might help to write everything down.

Ask your doctors and nurses to explain things again if you need them to.

Remember that you don’t have to sort everything out at once. It might take some time to deal with each issue. Ask for help if you need it.

Treatment causes side effects. These can be mild or more severe. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any side effects or if they get worse. They can treat them and help you find ways of coping.

Talking to other people

Talking to your friends and relatives about your GTD can help and support you. But some people are scared of the emotions this could bring up and won’t want to talk. They might worry that you won't be able to cope with your situation.

It can strain relationships if your family or friends don't want to talk. But talking can help increase trust and support between you.

Help your family and friends by letting them know you would like to talk about what’s happening and how you feel.

You might find it easier to talk to someone outside your own friends and family.

You can call the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Relationships and sex

If you are having a sexual relationship, changes caused by your GTD and treatment may affect your sex life. If you want to try again for a baby it is natural to wonder about when you will be able to do that and whether you are at risk of another GTD. We have information about fertility, pregnancy and contraception.

Coping practically

Practical things you and your family might need to cope with include:

  • money matters
  • financial support, such as benefits, sick pay and grants
  • work issues
  • childcare

Talk to your doctor or specialist nurse to find out who can help. Getting help early with these things can mean that they don’t become a big issue later.