Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and the seventh most common cause of deaths from cancer in women. Recent annual worldwide figures reflect 204,000 new cases of ovarian cancer and 125,000 deaths. Treatment of advanced ovarian cancer involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, both of which may impact a woman's physical, social, and emotional well-being. A woman's quality of life (QOL) is affected by disease site, and treatment-specific and patient-specific factors, but other common QOL issues include changes in physical functioning owing to side effects of treatment, psychological distress caused by fear and anxiety of recurrence, sexual dysfunction associated with anatomic and physiologic changes of treatment, and for younger women, loss of childbearing potential. As new diagnostic and treatment strategies for gynecologic malignancies are developed, research efforts should include QOL consequences. Further studies are needed to develop strategies for identifying women at risk for serious QOL disruption so that effective interventions to assist these women can be designed.
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