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Nurses' help needed with research on ovarian cancer survivorship

A charity is asking for nurses’ help to encourage patients to take part in a ground-breaking piece of research on ovarian cancer survivorship.

OvQuest is the first major international patient experience survey to address issues and challenges faced after treatment for ovarian cancer. The UK arm of the online survey was launched earlier this month by Ovarian Cancer Action.

“Up until now no one has talked to this group as a population about what their survivorship issues are”

Gilda Witte

The charity has called on the nursing community for its help in driving patient interest in the survey, which will remain open until October. 

OvQuest is intended to help better understand the concerns and challenges faced by women after treatment for ovarian cancer. For example, it asks how women feel after they have finished treatment and what support they have received or would like.

The charity said there was increasing awareness of the long-term impact and late effects of surgery and chemotherapy in cancer survivors, and that many of these symptoms and side effects could be potentially treated and possibly prevented.

It noted that there had been “pockets” of research on the wellbeing of ovarian cancer patients in UK, but these had only included small numbers of women.

The new study will also run in Australia, Canada and the US, allowing comparisons to be made of the needs and concerns of patients among different countries.

Ovarian Cancer Action is collaborating with the Australian and New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group, Imperial College London and the National Forum of Gynaecology Oncology Nurses on the project.

Ovarian Cancer Action

Gilda Witte

Gilda Witte, chief executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, said: “Up until now no one has talked to this group as a population about what their survivorship issues are and to help them understand they are not alone.”

She highlighted that ovarian cancer survival rates had improved in England since the mid-1980s – from 57% to 73% for one-year relative survival, and from 33% to 44% for five-year relative survival.

“We now have enough survivors to listen to their issues, understand their issues and take action to help drive positive change,” she said.

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