Living with ovarian cancer: Women’s perspectives on treatment and treatment decision-making

Margaret I. Fitch, Karen Deane, Doris Howell


In the year 2002, 2,500 women will have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Treatment for ovarian cancer is arduous, involving invasive surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy. Studies have described the side effects of ovarian cancer treatment, but little has been written about women’s perspectives on receiving that treatment.

This work was undertaken to describe women’s perceptions of living with ovarian cancer and their experiences with treatment. Eighteen women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer were interviewed in depth and theme analysis was undertaken with their transcripts. Three prominent themes emerged during the analysis: 1) initial treatment plans were overwhelming, 2) involvement in treatment decision-making was minimal, and 3) treatment had many side effects and complications.

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