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Keywords:

  • cancer survivor;
  • early-stage ovarian cancer

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to describe the quality of life (QOL), consequences of treatment, complementary therapy use, and factors correlating with psychologic state in 58 survivors of early-stage ovarian cancer since little is known about the QOL of early-stage ovarian cancer survivors. Survivors were interviewed using standardized measures to assess physical, psychologic, social, and sexual functioning; impact of cancer on socioeconomic status; and complementary therapy use. Survivors reported good physical QOL scores and few unmet needs. However, menopausal symptoms and negative impact on sexuality were reported. Less than 10% of survivors reported either an interest in sex or were sexually active. Psychologic assessment yielded a subset of 26% of patients with scores suggestive of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 40% of survivors scored below the norm on the Mental Health Inventory-17 Survey. One third of patients required treatment for family/personal problems and took antianxiety medications. About 56% of survivors reported fear of cancer recurrence and 59% reported anxiety when their CA125 is tested. Better mental health was significantly related to less fatigue (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy [FACT]—fatigue, r = 0.61, P < 0.0001), less pain (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC], r =−0.54, P < 0.0001), fewer stressful life events (Life Event Scale, r =−0.44, P > 0.001), and greater social support (MOS Social Support Survey, r = 0.41, P < 0.01). Early-stage ovarian cancer survivors had few physical complaints and unmet needs, but psychologic distress was evident in a subset of survivors; the majority of survivors reported sexual dysfunction. These results indicate the need for intervention and improved distress screening in the early-stage ovarian cancer population.