PURPOSE: The study objective was to survey general health and coping in women undergoing ovarian cancer surgery, and subsequently to develop and test a supportive care intervention. METHODS/MATERIALS: Women who underwent surgery on the suspicion of ovarian cancer participated in a follow-up questionnaire study in which the Short Form-36 Questionnaire was used to survey general health twice during the perioperative period and the Life Orientation Questionnaire (SOC) was used once to define the postoperative coping capacity. An evidence-based, preoperative supportive care programme was subsequently developed and tested. This consisted of lean methodology applied to clinical pathways, preoperative optimisation, and psychosocial care and support. RESULTS: From 294 women allocated to three study groups, a total of 546 Short Form-36 questionnaires and 253 SOC questionnaires were available for analysis. The overall response rate was 86 %. The presence of ascites, a pelvic mass, and a Risk of Malignancy Index >200 proved to be appropriate clinical markers for intensified preoperative care. Concerning physical health, levels were low throughout the perioperative period; the majority however stayed within standard levels. Concerning mental health, levels were below standard during the entire period, but did improve with time, also in women in whom the potential cancer diagnosis was refuted. The preoperative differences between these groups leveled out postoperatively in terms of physical health. At the end of the perioperative period, the coping capacity was close to normal. CONCLUSIONS: A need for supportive care during the perioperative period was identified. This should be adjusted to the nature of the disease and the extent of the treatment. Participation in a preoperative supportive programme supported physical health during the perioperative period; however, further support of mental health seemed required.