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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Lived experiences and quality of life after gynaecological cancer-An integrative review

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AIM AND OBJECTIVES: To review the literature on Nordic women's lived experiences and quality of life (QoL) after gynaecological cancer treatment.

BACKGROUND: While incidence and survival are increasing in all groups of gynaecological cancers in the Nordic countries, inpatient hospitalisation has become shorter in relation to treatment. This has increased the need for follow-up and rehabilitation.

DESIGN: Integrative literature review using the Equator PRISMA guidelines.

METHODS: The review was selected, allowing inclusion of both experimental and nonexperimental research. The search included peer-reviewed articles published 1995-2017. To frame the search strategy, we applied the concept of rehabilitation, which holds a holistic perspective on health.

RESULTS: Fifty-five articles were included and were contextualised within three themes. Physical well-being in a changed body encompasses bodily changes comprising menopausal symptoms, a changed sexual life, complications in bowels, urinary tract, lymphoedema and pain, bodily-based preparedness and fear of recurrence. Mental well-being as a woman deals with questioned womanliness, the experience of revitalised values in life, and challenges of how to come to terms with oneself after cancer treatment. Psychosocial well-being and interaction deals with the importance of having a partner or close person in the process of coming to terms with oneself after cancer. Furthermore, the women needed conversations with health professionals around the process of coping with changes and late effects, including intimate and sensitive issues.

CONCLUSION: Years after gynaecological cancer, women have to deal with fundamental changes and challenges concerning their physical, mental and psychosocial well-being. Future research should focus on how follow-up programmes can be organised to target the multidimensional aspects of women's QoL. Research collaboration across Nordic countries on rehabilitation needs and intervention is timely and welcomed.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: To ensure that all aspects of cancer rehabilitation are being addressed, we suggest that the individual woman is offered an active role in her follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number9-10
Pages (from-to)1393-1421
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

    Research areas

  • Adaptation, Psychological, Female, Genital Neoplasms, Female/psychology, Humans, Quality of Life/psychology, Scandinavian and Nordic Countries

ID: 58436389