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Gynecol Oncol. 2013 Jul;130(1):162-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2013.03.031. Epub 2013 Apr 8.

Physical symptoms, coping styles and quality of life in recurrent ovarian cancer: a prospective population-based study over the last year of life.

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Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-based Decision-making, School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.



The aim of this study was to describe the trajectory of physical symptoms, coping styles and quality of life (QoL) and the relationship between coping and QoL over the last year of life in women with recurrent ovarian cancer.


The patient cohort were women recruited to the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study who subsequently experienced recurrent, invasive ovarian cancer and completed at least one psychosocial assessment (optimism, minimisation, hopelessness/helplessness, QoL) during the last year of life (n=217).


QoL declined sharply from six months before death. Lack of energy was the most prevalent symptom over three measurement periods (67-92%) and also the most severe. Anorexia (36-55%), abdominal swelling (33-58%), nausea (26-47%) and pain (26-43%) all increased in prevalence and severity towards the end of life. Higher optimism (p=0.009), higher minimisation (p=0.003) and lower helplessness/hopelessness (p=0.03) at baseline were significant predictors of subsequent higher QoL.


Progressive deterioration in quality of life may be an indicator of death within about six months and therefore should be an important consideration in decisions about subsequent treatment. Coping styles which independently predicted subsequent changes in QoL could potentially be targeted by interventions to minimise worsening QoL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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