Introduction/Background Providing optimal care for patients with Gynaecological malignancies including screening requires insight into the preferences of the women specially in relation to their health care providers. The aim of this study was to understand the health care preferences of the women in a lower middle income country setting in relation to gynaecological cancers.
Methodology Qualitative study with semi-structured interviews was conducted among 30 women attending the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Out Patient Department (OPD) of a tertiary care centre in India. In-depth interviews were conducted until data saturation was achieved. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded and analysed thematically. Framework approach was used to summarize the data.
Results The age of the study participants ranged between 24 and 63 years. Pivotal themes which emerged from the interviews were physician and nursing staff attitudes, open communication, affordable and easily accessible services and also gender of the treating gynae oncologist. As most of the participants were not aware of the spectrum of gynaecological cancers, a major facilitator was open communication by a supportive health care provider. Autonomy in selecting options for treatment as per socio-economic status was also a facilitator in return visits. Prolonged waiting period for consultation and the perceived indifference of health care staff in a busy OPD were considered as barriers to information and care seeking. Almost all the participants preferred counselling sessions in the native language. Participants also reportedly preferred a female gynaecologic oncologist over a male gynaecologic oncologist when it came to surgical management of these malignancies.
Conclusion The success of gynaecological oncology services in a country comprising both preventive and therapeutic aspects depends on multiple cultural factors. The results of this study may be used to make gynae oncology care more patient centric in order to provide prompt and high quality care.
Disclosures The authors have no potential conflict of interest to declare
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