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Oncol Nurs Forum. 2003 Nov-Dec;30(6):927-33.

Ovarian cancer: early symptom patterns.

Author information

1
School of Nursing at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA. polishkay@aol.com

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:

To examine early symptom and diagnostic-seeking experiences of women newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal descriptive.

SETTING:

Homes of families.

SAMPLE:

Purposive; 19 families were obtained by referrals.

METHODS:

Interviews and questionnaires; descriptive analysis.

MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES:

Early symptoms and delays in diagnosis.

FINDINGS:

Families were 88% Caucasian and 12% African American. Almost two-thirds had annual incomes of 25,000 dollars or more. The ages of the patients with cancer ranged from 28-73 years (mean = 56 years). Delay between initial symptoms and diagnosis was mean = 14 weeks. Early symptoms experienced by 95% of women were abdominal bloating, vague abdominal pain and "spots," indigestion problems, fatigue, and urinary problems.

CONCLUSIONS:

Women usually experience a cluster of symptoms, unrecognized and discounted, which delays diagnosis.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING:

Pelvic assessments should be reformulated to conceptualize early symptoms, risk factors, and family cancer history as a dynamic, interconnected whole to guide and interpret ovarian health.

PMID:
14603350
DOI:
10.1188/03.ONF.927-933
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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