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BMC Cancer. 2009 Jan 2;9:2. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-9-2.

Morbidity associated with "self-rated health" in epithelial ovarian cancer survivors.

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  • 1Department of Gynecology, Sorlandet Hospital, Arendal, Norway.



Epithelial ovarian cancer survivors (EOCSs) frequently report multiple complaints after their treatment. The objective was to study somatic and mental morbidity in EOCSs associated with their Self-Rated Health (SRH) assessed by a single item.Findings were compared to age-matched controls from the general population.


In a cross -sectional follow-up design 189/287 (66%) EOCSs treated at The Norwegian Radiumhospital 1979-2003 responded to a mailed questionnaire on demographic data, and somatic and mental morbidity. SRH last week was rated on item #29 of the European Organization and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire in 84/189 (97%) of responding EOCSs. For comparisons "good" and "poor" SRH groups were defined by the median score on the SRH item.


EOCSs with "poor SRH" had higher level of somatic symptoms, anxiety, depression and fatigue than those with "good SRH" (p < .001). In multivariate analyses somatic symptoms, age and fatigue, were significantly associated with the SRH score in EOCSs, but not the cancer-related variables (FIGO stage, recurrence in < 6 months or chemotherapy ever). The model explained 70% of the variance in SRH in linear and 77% in logistic regression analyses. The distribution of the SRH scores in EOCSs did not differ significantly from that of normative controls; however a higher proportion of controls recorded a high SRH score.


SRH is strongly related to common somatic complaints, impairment and fatigue but not to cancer-related variables. A single question concerning SRH last week might be a quick screening method for collecting important information on symptoms in EOCSs, in addition to cancer-related questions.

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