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923 Hope and hopelessness in the face of ovarian cancer: perspectives from gynaecologists
  1. Karen Rosnes Gissum1,2,
  2. Caroline Benedicte Nitter Engen3,
  3. Sigrunn Drageset4,
  4. Ane Gerda Zahl Eriksson5,
  5. Ingvild Vistad6,
  6. Roger Strand7 and
  7. Line Bjørge1,2
  1. 1Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  2. 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  3. 3Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  4. 4Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway
  5. 5Department of Gynaecological Oncology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  6. 6Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Southern Hospital Norway, Kristiansand, Norway
  7. 7Centre for Cancer Biomarkers and Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway


Introduction/Background Communication is a key aspect of patient-provider relationships in cancer treatment and care.

Methodology This study reports the personal reflections and self-understandings of a set of Norwegian gynaecologists responsible for the treatment of patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Results We identified three main features of the gynaecologists’ understanding. (1) In interacting with their patients, the gynaecologists focused on diagnostic markers and treatment choices. They paid more attention to the disease than the individual’s holistic well-being. (2) The gynaecologists’ understanding of ovarian cancer was mainly based on medical knowledge rather than patients’ experiences. Hence, they understood their role as maintaining some hope for the patient while inwardly experiencing their sense of hopelessness in the presence of a progressive, fatal disease. (3) The tragic nature of ovarian cancer prompted a desire for emotional distance as a means of self-preservation. The gynaecologists harbored a hope that medical advancements would lead to a cure for ovarian cancer in the future, but they also acknowledged their sense of helplessness in trying to treat these patients.

Conclusion Our findings indicate that in this case, the patient-provider relationship focuses more on the disease because of institutional structures and guidelines. The disease-centric focus is evolving due to stringent frameworks within the healthcare system. These restrictions hinder communication between patients and gynecologists that could provide insights into illness and well-being, which might improve cancer treatment and care.

Disclosures See submission forms.

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