Goal setting in cancer rehabilitation and relation to quality of life among women with gynaecological cancer

Acta Oncol. 2015 Nov;54(10):1814-23. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2015.1037009. Epub 2015 May 6.


Background: Rehabilitation should be integrated in the routine cancer care of women treated for gynaecological cancers. Goal setting is expected to facilitate the process through patient involvement and motivation. Our knowledge about goal setting in cancer rehabilitation is, however, sparse.

Objectives: This study aimed to: 1) analyse rehabilitation goals defined during hospital-based rehabilitation in patients with gynaecological cancer, with regard to number, category, changes over time, and differences between cancer diagnosis, and 2) analyse the association between health-related quality of life and goals defined for rehabilitation.

Material and methods: Consecutively, all patients treated surgically for endometrial, ovarian, and cervical cancer were invited for hospital-based rehabilitation at Odense University Hospital, Denmark, including two sessions at the hospital one and three months following surgery and two phone calls for follow-up. Questionnaires from the EORTC were used to prepare patients and facilitate individual goal setting with definitions of up to three goals. All goals were grouped into six categories.

Results: A total of 151 (63%) patients accepted the invitation including 50 endometrial, 65 ovarian, and 36 cervical cancers patients. All patients defined goals at the first session, 76.4% defined three goals, 21.9% two, and 1.6% had one goal. Physical goals decreased over time but were the most frequent at both sessions (98% and 89%). At both sessions, the social and emotional categories were the second and third most frequent among patients with endometrial and ovarian cancer. Sexual issues were dominant among the cervical cancer patients. Regression analysis showed significant association between quality of life scores and goal setting within the social and emotional domains.

Conclusion: Goal setting seemed feasible in all problem areas. The EORTC questionnaires were helpful during the process although expectations of the sub-scores being predictive of which areas to address were not convincing.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emotions
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / psychology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Patient Participation
  • Physical Fitness
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexuality
  • Social Participation
  • Time Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / surgery
  • Young Adult