Women's experiences of information, psychological distress and worry after treatment for gynaecological cancer

Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Feb;56(2):225-32. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2004.02.016.


Sensitive, appropriate patient information is considered to be an important element in the psychological support of patients. Specialist nurses are seen to have a key responsibility for this work. With regard to gynaecological cancer, evidence suggests that women do not get optimum psychological care. This study set out to explore women's experiences of information, psychological distress and worry after treatment for gynaecological cancer. The study was a survey (not an RCT) and 70 patients from two specialist gynaecological oncology centres were interviewed at the time of diagnosis/initial treatment and again at 6 months. The semi-structured schedule included recognised instruments to assess; sources of information, concerns, and psychological distress. Both initially and at 6 months there was evidence of a considerable burden of worry; over half the women had four or more significant concerns related to their illness experience. However, women who had initial support from a clinical nurse specialist at the time of diagnosis experienced a clinically significant reduction in their level of psychological distress 6 months from diagnosis. Hospital linked professional sources of information were well used at the time of diagnosis, but by 6 months many patients were using non-professional sources such as television, magazines and newspapers. This study suggests that support from a clinical nurse specialist may be able to assist psychological recovery. However, to be effective in this area nurses should be skilled and willing to assess the individual's need for help with information, and managing their worry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cancer Care Facilities
  • England
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / complications
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / psychology*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nurse Clinicians / organization & administration
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Oncology Nursing / organization & administration
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching Materials
  • Time Factors
  • Women / education
  • Women / psychology