Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Approaches for end-of-life care in the field of gynecologic oncology: an exploratory study
  1. L. M. Ramondetta*,
  2. G. Tortolero-Luna*,
  3. D. C. Bodurka*,
  4. D. Sills,
  5. K. Basen-Engquist,
  6. J. Gano* and
  7. C. Levenback*
  1. * Department of Gynecologic Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
  2. Department of Religion, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, CA
  3. Department of Behavioral Science, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Lois M. Ramondetta, MD, Department of Gynecologic Oncology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard – Unit 440, Houston, TX 77030-4009. Email: lramonde{at}


We sought to explore the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) members' opinions and decisions about end-of-life issues and incurable conditions. A survey was mailed to members of the SGO. Their responses were recorded on a Likert scale and entered into a database. The survey explored opinions, experiences, and decisions in managing terminally ill gynecologic oncology patients. Of 900 surveys, 327 were returned (response rate, 36%). Seventy-three percent were men, 89% were white, and 72% were of Christian denomination. Respondents believed that 97% of patients who are dying realize that they are dying but stated only 40% of these patients initiate conversations about end-of-life issues. In contrast, 92% of respondents stated that they initiate end-of-life discussions with patients. Ninety-two percent of respondents thought that the patients should be allowed to make end-of-life choices independently after the facts are given to them. However, 44% thought that it is important to influence the way information is presented, and 54% believe that the gynecologic oncologist (GO) controls the outcome of end-of-life discussions. Although the physicians' sex, race, religion, and age did not correlate with their treatment decisions, religion did correlate with less fear of death (P = 0.011) and less discomfort when talking with patients about death (P = 0.005). Fifty-four percent of respondents believed that the GO controls the outcome of end-of-life discussions, and 40% believe that their actions prolong the process of dying. Expanding our understanding of what motivates GOs to recommend continued treatment over palliation is important for preserving informed patient-motivated end-of-life decisions.

  • end-of-life care
  • gynecologic neoplasms
  • gynecologic oncology
  • palliative care

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.