Talk About Psychological Distress and Support in Women With Gynecological Cancer: NOT Just the Disease

Chia Chun Li*, Tsui Hsia Feng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cervical cancer, uterus cancer, and ovarian cancer are three common gynecological cancers. After diagnosis, the three therapeutic modalities available for treating gynecological cancers include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. During the diagnostic and treatment periods, these patients usually suffer from physical and psychologic distresses, including menopausal symptoms, infertility, sexual dysfunction, incontinence, anxiety, depression, and relationship changes, among others. Support from family members and significant others has the potential to buffer the psychological distress perceived by patients with gynecological cancers. However, those patients who undergo invasive treatment modalities or have intimate issues such as brachytherapy, the need to use a vaginal dilator, and sexual dysfunction tend to conceal relevant information from their families or friends, which may increase self-perceived loneliness when facing the impacts of the disease and treatments. Healthcare providers may help alleviate patients’ psychological stresses by providing psychological support in a timely manner, initiating discussions of intimate issues, and fulfilling patient needs for related information. In addition, healthcare providers may provide one-on-one counseling and individualized care information to increase patients’ understanding of their health status. Furthermore, during the COVID-19 pandemic, patients may self-isolate to avoid becoming infected or to recuperate from a COVID-19 infection, causing social isolation or delays of cancer treatment. Healthcare providers may further place caring phone calls and provide treatment information to increase patients’ social support and lessen their psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nursing
Volume69
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 08 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Taiwan Nurses Association. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • gynecological cancer
  • psychological distress
  • support

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