Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: How has the pandemic affected women with ovarian cancer? | Research News

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Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: How has the pandemic affected women with ovarian cancer?

Hands of a female patient holding a pillow against her stomach

Royal Surrey is part of a national research project assessing the psychological impact the pandemic has had on women with ovarian cancer. The findings will be used to advise NHS and cancer support organisations about how best to support women during and after their treatment.

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer with around 7,300 woman diagnosed each year.

“Cancer diagnosis and treatment is distressing under normal circumstances, but during this last year women have had to go through all the emotional ups and downs of surgery and chemotherapy in the face of a pandemic. There have been UK-wide interruptions to hospital services to contend with as well as fears of contracting Covid with an already compromised immune system and having to shield at home while missing many of their loved ones,” said Fiona Thompson, Lead Macmillan Gynaecological Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Royal Surrey.

 “The study hopes to tell us more about what patients have been through psychologically and how they are coping, ultimately, hoping to improve the support available to them,” she continued.

The OvarianPsych study is led by Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham University Hospitals who hope to recruit 80 participants across eight UK sites. Royal Surrey began recruiting patients onto the study in December and has recruited 12 of its target 20 participants.

Study participants, who are all currently receiving chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer, are asked to complete an online questionnaire three times over a four-month period. They are asked questions about their illness and treatment, how they feel about their illness and treatment, their mental health and how they are coping.

Fiona said: “Covid has had a massive impact on everybody, but, I imagine, for our patients that impact has amplified. As a major regional referral centre for cancer patients, it is important that we support research that advances care. And this project will help healthcare organisations and professionals provide the best possible care.”

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