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Impact of Recurrence of Ovarian Cancer on Quality of Life and Outlook for the Future
  1. Nicoletta Colombo, MD*,
  2. Domenica Lorusso, MD and
  3. Paolo Scollo, MD
  1. * Division of Gynecologic Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, University of Milan-Bicocca;
  2. Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan; and
  3. Department of Gynecology, Cannizzaro Hospital, Catania, Italy.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nicoletta Colombo, MD, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, University of Milan-Bicocca, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141, Milan, Italy. E-mail: nicoletta.colombo{at}


Objective Ovarian cancer recurs in most patients, with a 5-year survival rate less than 30%. Quality of life is an increasingly important issue in patients with cancer, but there are limited data in women with recurrent ovarian cancer in this regard.

Materials and Methods We used an ad hoc questionnaire to compare changes in health perceptions, burden of disease, and expectations for the future quality of life in women with and without recurrence of ovarian cancer. A total of 173 women were included, 116 with relapse and 57 without, undergoing follow-up in a routine clinical setting.

Results Substantial differences were seen in self-assessed health status between women with and without recurrence; 33.6% and 82.4% of women with and without recurrence rated their health as good to excellent, respectively. More patients with recurrence of disease reported limitations in moderate activity than those without. Furthermore, 79.0% of women without recurrence reported that pain did not affect or only slightly affected daily activities, compared with 28.2% with recurrence. Most women with recurrence (59.5%) reported that they were able to do less than they wanted to because of their emotional status compared with only 15.8% of women without recurrence. In addition, 66.4% of women with recurrence referred that they had problems concentrating at work and home versus 26.3% of women without recurrence.

Conclusions From this survey, it is clear that relapse of disease has a negative psychological and physical impact, highlighting the importance of time without recurrence and the need for effective treatment in the long term.

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Quality of life
  • Daily activities
  • Outlook for future

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.