Gynecological cancer survivors and community support services: referral, awareness, utilization and satisfaction

Psychooncology. 2010 Jan;19(1):54-61. doi: 10.1002/pon.1528.


Objectives: To quantify gynecological cancer survivors' referral to, awareness of, utilization of and satisfaction with community support services, as well as the factors associated with service use.

Methods: In 2004, 802 gynecological cancer survivors, 3 months-5 years post-diagnosis, completed a postal questionnaire (56% response rate). Descriptive statistics summarized outcome prevalences. Logistic regression models identified correlates of service utilization.

Results: Substantial proportions of women were aware of the main cancer support organization, Cancer Council Queensland (72%), and of information booklets (74%), helplines (66%), support groups (56%) and internet information (50%). Less than half were aware of other services. The most commonly used resources and services were information booklets (37%), the internet (23%), and helplines (20%). More broadly, 43% utilized information/internet support, 30% utilized psychosocial services and 27% utilized functional/practical services. Approximately one-fifth (19%) used more than one support types. Having a health-care provider referral, being diagnosed with lymphedema or living in northern Queensland were associated with higher odds of service use in all three of the support types. While most (86%) of those referred used a service, only a few women received referrals. Among users, satisfaction with services was high.

Conclusions: While gynecological cancer survivors accessed a variety of support, there is a need to ensure women are aware of services. Given the low prevalence of referrals and that referral was a key influence on service use, clinician education may be necessary to improve service referral. Organizations should also consider strategies to keep services high on clinicians' radars.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Awareness*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Community Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / pathology
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / psychology*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / therapy
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Queensland
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult