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Living with Ovarian Cancer: Perspectives of Older Women

Margaret Fitch, RN, PhD, Head, Oncology Nursing and Supportive Care; Director, Psychosocial and Behavioural Research Unit,Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON.

Ovarian cancer has more than a physical impact.There are also emotional, psychosocial, spiritual, and practical consequences for those women diagnosed with the disease. These women face many challenges— lives are changed irrevocably with the diagnosis, and life becomes a series of transitions. In caring for women with ovarian cancer, health care providers must be sensitive to myriad concerns these patients may have and try to understand the issues from the perspective of those experiencing them.
Structures and processes need to be established within care facilities that allow patients to have regular comprehensive assessment, good symptom management, effective communication, and individually tailored support.The availability of timely and relevant referral to other experts when needed is of key importance at moments of care transition.
Keywords: supportive care, ovarian cancer, older women, psychosocial concerns, emotion.