Psychological, Emotional Concerns Go Unaddressed in Ovarian Cancer Discussions

Friday, August 03, 2018
This year, more than 22,000 women in the United States are likely to receive a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and many of them will be diagnosed in the later stages of the disease.

A recent review of data found that 79% of patients with ovarian cancer felt uncomfortable raising psychological and emotional concerns during their consultations. The women were concerned with taking up too much time with their healthcare provider, which led to feelings of isolation, lack of support, and a need for more information.

The findings are part of the “Our Way Forward—Ovarian Cancer in Europe” literature review of 65 publications and patient surveys from the past 15 years. It was created by Tesaro, Inc., with input from the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA). The goal of the program is to have patients, caregivers and healthcare providers rethink how they talk about advanced ovarian cancer and ways to partner together to navigate the physical and emotional challenges brought on by the disease.

Many women (85%) with ovarian cancer will have a recurrence, according to a study published in the International Journal of Surgical Oncology. However, findings of the current review showed that recurrence and fear of recurrence are poorly addressed. Some 53% of patients reported that symptoms of recurrence were never discussed with them. When asked, 63% of nurses reported that they did not have the time to discuss symptoms.

The trade-off between efficacy and quality of life is another area of care that is not commonly addressed. But when it comes to improving quality of life, 86 percent of patients said they would be willing to try a drug even if it didn’t prolong survival, according to the review findings.

Tesaro and both advocacy groups have a second-phase review planned, which will focus on the development of resources and tools for women with ovarian cancer in need of psychological intervention.


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