Resilience, reflection, and residual stress in ovarian cancer survivorship: a gynecologic oncology group study

Psychooncology. 2002 Mar-Apr;11(2):142-53. doi: 10.1002/pon.567.


Ovarian cancer is a life-threatening diagnosis which poses multiple challenges. The purpose of this study is to describe the quality of life (QOL) concerns and survivorship sequelae of long-term (>5 yr) early-stage ovarian cancer survivors accrued through the clinical cooperative Gynecologic Oncology Group. Forty-nine ovarian cancer survivors with a mean age at diagnosis of 55.9 yr (range 30-76) completed a telephone interview assessing QOL, psychosocial status, sexual functioning and late-effects of treatment. Results indicate that this disease-free early-stage sample enjoys a good QOL, with physical, emotional, and social well-being comparable to other survivors and same-aged noncancer cohorts. However, 20% of survivors indicated the presence of long-term treatment side effects, with a subset reporting problems related to abdominal and gynecologic symptoms, and neurotoxicity. Spiritual well-being was significantly positively associated with personal growth and mental health, and negatively associated with a declining health status. Lingering psychological survivorship sequelae included fear of follow-up diagnostic tests and fear of recurrence. Forty-three percent of respondents expressed that they would likely participate in a counseling program today to discuss psychosocial issues raised by having had ovarian cancer, and 56% stated that they would have attended a support program during the initial treatment if it had been offered. This information provides some insight into the complex survivorship relationships between quality of life, long-term physical and sexual sequelae, and factors of resilience and growth which appear to promote a sense of well-being as a result of the cancer experience.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Brachytherapy / psychology
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / psychology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Phosphorus Radioisotopes / adverse effects
  • Phosphorus Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sick Role*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Survivors / psychology*


  • Phosphorus Radioisotopes
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Cisplatin