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Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2011 Dec;15(6):625-32. doi: 10.1188/11.CJON.625-632.

The management of anxiety and knowledge of serum CA-125 after an ovarian cancer diagnosis.

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  • 1Yale Cancer Center, Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT, USA.


This article describes the relationship among anxiety, distress, and serum CA-125 levels in women with ovarian cancer. Women's anxiety about monitoring their CA-125 levels during chemotherapy also is discussed. Data from a randomized trial including self-reported anxiety and emotional distress of women following surgery after a primary diagnosis of ovarian cancer, their recorded serum CA-125 levels, and knowledge about their CA-125 levels were analyzed. In the sample, 26 of 30 women had serum CA-125 levels above the normal range. At baseline, the sample had an elevated mean anxiety score and an elevated distress score. A moderate association was found between a high serum CA-125 level and a high anxiety score at baseline, but the finding was not statistically significant. A negative nonsignificant relationship was found between a high serum CA-125 level and distress at baseline. The qualitative analysis revealed two themes: anxiety and lack of knowledge of serum CA-125. Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners caring for these women should provide essential information and strategies that can help guide women with ovarian cancer through the journey of their disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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