Resilience, reflection, and residual stress in ovarian cancer survivorship: A gynecologic oncology group study

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Abstract

Ovarian cancer is a life-threatening diagnosis which poses multiple challenges. The purpose of this study is to describe the quality of life (QOL) concerns and survivorship sequelae of long-term (>5 yr) early-stage ovarian cancer survivors accrued through the clinical cooperative Gynecologic Oncology Group. Forty-nine ovarian cancer survivors with a mean age at diagnosis of 55.9 yr (range 30–76) completed a telephone interview assessing QOL, psychosocial status, sexual functioning and late-effects of treatment. Results indicate that this disease-free early-stage sample enjoys a good QOL, with physical, emotional, and social well-being comparable to other survivors and same-aged noncancer cohorts. However, 20% of survivors indicated the presence of long-term treatment side effects, with a subset reporting problems related to abdominal and gynecologic symptoms, and neurotoxicity. Spiritual well-being was significantly positively associated with personal growth and mental health, and negatively associated with a declining health status. Lingering psychological survivorship sequelae included fear of follow-up diagnostic tests and fear of recurrence. Forty-three percent of respondents expressed that they would likely participate in a counseling program today to discuss psychosocial issues raised by having had ovarian cancer, and 56% stated that they would have attended a support program during the initial treatment if it had been offered. This information provides some insight into the complex survivorship relationships between quality of life, long-term physical and sexual sequelae, and factors of resilience and growth which appear to promote a sense of well-being as a result of the cancer experience. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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