Being a caregiver to patients with ovarian cancer: A scoping review of the literature Ovarian Cancer and Us OVARIAN CANCER and US Ovarian Cancer and Us

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Being a caregiver to patients with ovarian cancer: A scoping review of the literature



Ovarian cancer differs from many other cancer diagnoses due to its late diagnosis and high rates and frequencies of recurrences. The physical and psychosocial wellbeing of patients are well documented in the literature, however limited research exists specifically on their friends and family, or caregivers. The goal of this review was to examine the state of the literature on ovarian cancer caregivers.


A scoping review was conducted on any articles describing caregivers of patients with ovarian cancer. Databases were searched systematically using key terms related to ovarian cancer and caregiving. Both authors screened articles for eligibility. Grey literature was also consulted.


19 articles were identified after screening: nine quantitative, five qualitative, two mixed-methods, two case studies and a personal account. Quantitative studies were conducted over different time-points in the disease trajectory, whereas qualitative studies and the personal account spanned the whole trajectory. Collectively, the studies suggested that the experience of being a caregiver to patients with ovarian cancer changes overtime, as the first year post-diagnosis shows little compromise in wellbeing and quality of life, which then steadily declines throughout the rest of the disease trajectory. Studies commented on quality of life, distress, needs, social wellbeing, spirituality, relationships with healthcare providers, relationships with patients, physical health and financial wellbeing.


This scoping review of the literature demonstrates little peer-reviewed evidence on the experiences and quality-of-life of ovarian cancer caregivers. This population experiences physical and psychosocial challenges that merit exploration, to subsequently aid in designing interventions.


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