Patient Concerns and Quality of Life: First Findings from the Cancer Experience Registry®: Ovarian Cancer

March 20, 2019

On March 17th, 2019 the Research and Training Institute (RTI) presented findings of a study on more than 120 women with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. Below is a post from the research team about the significance of their findings for the ovarian cancer community.

HONOLULU, HI- Last October, the RTI launched the Cancer Experience Registry®: Ovarian Cancer. This research project, which is open to all women who have ever been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, regardless of where they are on the care continuum, documents the unique concerns and experiences of the ovarian cancer community. Last week, we presented preliminary findings from this registry at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. We continue to encourage women with ovarian cancer to take our survey so that we can build on these initial insights and learn more about this unique diagnosis.

The poster we presented, Risk for Anxiety and Depression among Individuals with Ovarian Cancer: The Interplay between Age and Distress,” examines patients’ concerns about ovarian cancer in predicting people’s risk for depression and anxiety. Research in this area is particularly important given that depression and anxiety are serious conditions that can affect quality of life for people living with ovarian cancer.

Our results show that, among the over 120 women with ovarian cancer who participated, 37 percent were at risk for clinical depression and 54 percent were at risk for clinical anxiety. Having concerns about health care team communication, including making treatment decisions, played a significant role in people being at risk for clinical depression and anxiety. Additionally, for younger ovarian cancer survivors, concerns about relationships and intimacy, including sexual function and fertility, also played a role in risk for anxiety.

Given these findings, we encourage providers to talk to ovarian cancer patients about their concerns around treatment decisions as well as their concerns around relationships, intimacy, and fertility. Ovarian cancer can affect women of all ages, and these conversations about intimacy and fertility are an important part of caring for the whole patient. Additionally, we recommend that providers connect patients with appropriate psychosocial support for depression and anxiety. The Cancer Support Community also offers a number of resources for support, including our toll-free Helpline (1-888-793-9355).

Share Your Experience

At the Cancer Support Community, innovative patient-focused research is at the heart of what we do. We can’t accomplish this without insight from patients, and that is why we ask patients, survivors, and caregivers of all cancer diagnoses to share their stories by participating in the Cancer Experience Registry,® a free, confidential survey that is open to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer or provides care to someone with cancer.

Participate in the Cancer Experience Registry.®