Long-term quality of life in gynecological cancer survivors

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Feb;22(1):30-5. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e328332e626.


Purpose of review: This review addresses current knowledge about long-term quality of life (QOL) in survivors of gynecological cancer.

Recent findings: Survivors of gynecological cancer have generally good long-term QOL, equivalent to healthy controls; however, specific deficits are more prevalent than in women without cancer. Ovarian cancer survivors have good QOL, with few physical symptoms. Psychological distress and sexual impairments exist. No differences in QOL occur between survivors of early and advanced stage disease. Cervical cancer survivors treated with radiotherapy reported more QOL impairments than survivors treated with other approaches. There were no differences on sexuality and sexual function among survival time periods. In general, cervical cancer survivors seem to have a positive attitude towards sexuality. Self-esteem is an important psychological variable in the study of long-term QOL.

Summary: When considering specific diseases, ovarian and cervical cancers were the most researched. Endometrial cancer was underreported in recent literature. Studies addressing vulvar and vaginal cancers are lacking. Physical, psychosocial and sexuality were the most investigated QOL domains. Advances are observed in current research; however, more rigorous and larger studies are required to further understand long-term QOL. Available findings are crucial to develop interventions to support those at risk for QOL impairments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Survivors / psychology*