Objectives: Our aim was to investigate the prevalence and potential risk factors for persistent and troublesome physical and psychological symptoms following treatment for ovarian cancer (OC).
Methods: OvQuest is an international, internet-based, cross-sectional questionnaire which explored symptom burden and quality of life (QOL) after treatment for OC. Eligible women were aged 18 and over, diagnosed with OC at least 6 months previously and had received chemotherapy. Self-report data were collected including demographics, diagnosis and treatment, and standardised instruments for treatment-related toxicities, QOL, physical activity (PA) and supportive care needs.
Results: The survey included 1360 patients, of whom 421 (31%) had been treated for recurrent OC. 78% reported symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, 60% significant fatigue, 48% mood disturbance and 59% moderate-severe insomnia. Rates of fatigue, mood disorders, neuropathy and insomnia did not differ between women with or without recurrence. The majority of respondents were overweight or obese (high BMI, 59%) and 35% reported low PA. Low PA and high BMI were associated with poorer QOL scores and higher symptom burden across a range of domains.
Conclusion: Women living after a diagnosis of OC report a substantial and ongoing symptom burden which impacts significantly on their quality of life across multiple domains. The reported associations between obesity, physical inactivity and poor QOL warrant prospective evaluation of lifestyle interventions to improve QOL.
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