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17-02-2016 | Gynecologic cancers | Article

Ovarian cancer survivors’ quality of life: a systematic review

Journal of Cancer Survivorship

Authors: D. Ahmed-Lecheheb, F. Joly

Publisher: Springer US



The assessment of quality of life (QOL) among ovarian cancer (OC) patients has mainly focused on the acute phase of treatment. This systematic review examines studies measuring QOL in patients who survived OC after treatment and synthesizes results in order to assess QOL and patient-reported outcome (PRO) data at long-term follow-up.


Articles published in English between 1990 to November 2014 were identified with the databases MEDLINE and PubMed, using the specific keywords “OC survivors” combined with the terms, “QOL,” “health-related QOL,” and “PROs.” Data were reviewed for design, time since end of treatment, measurement tools, and outcomes (categorized in three topics: global QOL compared to controls, treatment sequelae, and intervention strategies).


The initial search strategy provided 148 articles of which 31 were considered eligible. Most studies focused on epithelial OC, and only a few studies investigated survivors of ovarian germ cell tumor. More than 60 instruments of QOL measures were used in the corpus. Despite the persistence of psychological and physical symptoms, treatment sequelae, sexual problems, and fear of recurrence in some survivors, most studies demonstrated that OC survivors generally have good QOL compared to healthy women. Studies proposing interventions are lacking.

Conclusions and Implications for Cancer Survivor

OC survivors experience a wide range of sequelae that may persist for a long time and negatively impact QOL. Further large-scale research is needed to fully understand problems that have significant effects on QOL, in order to develop interventions and treatments suitable for women at need.

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