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Cancer Nurs. 2004 Sep-Oct;27(5):370-8; quiz 379-80.

Health seeking related to ovarian cancer.

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Schools of Nursing, Rivers Building, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.


Critical review of general health-seeking models showed a need for expansion to include the early and atypical symptom period associated with ovarian cancer and the role of self and primary care in the diagnostic process. Data from family functioning research showed that in the self-care phase, the initial gastrointestinal symptoms were unrecognized as serious, given common sense labels, and self-managed. When primary care provider care was sought, misdiagnoses occurred three fourth of the time. Diagnostic delays occurred in these 2 phases of care. An expansion of a model of health seeking links personal and family risks and adds early symptom data may be obtained through monthly self-monitoring by women using a symptom checklist. Organization of risks and symptom information assists in interpretation of disparate streams of data and gives a recommended outcome: high personal risk level + high family risk level + high early and persistent symptoms presence = high need for a prompt gynecological evaluation. The restructured health-seeking process requires women be taught how to monitor their ovarian health. Nurses and primary care providers need frequent continuing education updates and the health media need current and accurate information about this malignancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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