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Self-Reported Distress in Patients With Ovarian Cancer: Is It Related to Disease Status?
  1. Floortje K. Ploos van Amstel, RN, MSc*,
  2. Maaike A.P.C. van Ham, PhD, MD,
  3. Esmee J. Peters, MSc*,
  4. Judith B. Prins, PhD, MSc and
  5. Petronella B. Ottevanger, PhD, MD*
  1. *Departments of Medical Oncology,
  2. Gynecological Oncology, and
  3. Medical Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Floortje K. Ploos van Amstel, RN, MSc, Department of Medical Oncology (452), Radboud University Medical Center, PO Box 9101, Nijmegen 6500 HB, the Netherlands. E-mail: floor.ploosvanamstel{at}


Objective Patients with epithelial ovarian cancer have a poor prognosis and often undergo intensive treatment. These patients are therefore at risk for experiencing distress and reduced quality of life. The aim of this study was to explore the self-reported distress severity, experienced problems, and quality of life in relation to their disease status.

Methods This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2011 at a University Medical Center. Women with ovarian cancer (n = 273), both during and after treatment, were asked by mail to fill in self-report questionnaires. Distress was measured using with the Distress Thermometer (DT), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Impact of Event Scale. Problems and quality of life were assessed with the problem list of the DT, and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life C-30 and OV28.

Results The questionnaire data of 104 patients were analyzed. Screening with the DT revealed distress in 32% [mean (SD), 3.1 (2.6)]. Distress was found with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale in 14% [8.6 (5.9)] and with the Impact of Event Scale in 18% of the patients [17.5 (15.5)]. No significant differences were found in distress severity and self-reported problems between patients with and without recurrence. In both groups, the problems fatigue, condition, and neuropathy were most reported. Patients with distress (DT ≥ 5) experienced significantly worse functioning, more problems, and lower quality of life than patients without distress (P < 0.01).

Conclusions This study showed that disease status in patients with ovarian cancer seems to have no influence on distress, quality of life, and the problems encountered. However, distressed patients experienced more problems, with physical and emotional functioning, and had lower quality of life. The problems fatigue, physical condition, and neuropathy are the most prevailing.

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Distress
  • Distress Thermometer

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.