Send to

Choose Destination
Gynecol Oncol. 2002 Aug;86(2):200-11.

Treatment preferences in recurrent ovarian cancer.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.



In the case of recurrent ovarian cancer, salvage therapy represents the potential to trade off between quality and quantity of life. Patient and physician face a choice between chemotherapy directed at slowing disease progression and supportive or palliative care that focuses on symptom management. To date, no studies have investigated the effects of best supportive care on ovarian cancer patients' quality of life and length of life as compared to salvage therapy. In other cancers, both quantity and quality of life considerations have been shown to affect treatment preferences.


Using a decision board, we assessed preferences for salvage therapy or palliative care in the case of recurrent ovarian cancer among 81 ovarian cancer patients receiving first-line chemotherapy and 75 Noncancer Controls.


Compared to Noncancer Controls, ovarian cancer patients overwhelmingly preferred salvage therapy; quantity of life was of primary importance. In both groups, preference was not related to age, marital status, number of children, or employment status. On average, patients indicated they would switch from salvage therapy to palliative care when the median survival associated with salvage therapy was reduced to 5 months. Noncancer Controls would switch significantly sooner, when the median increment in survival period was reduced to 8 months. Switchpoint was not associated with life satisfaction, quality of life, or psychological or spiritual well-being in either group.


The majority of women, independent of a cancer diagnosis, indicated a desire for continuing aggressive treatment, despite poor outcomes. Quality of life was of secondary importance, especially among ovarian cancer patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center