Clinicopathological analysis and health-related quality of life among patients with ovarian cancer at Mulago Hospital
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Background: Ovarian cancer is the 6th commonest in women and the 2nd commonest gynecological cancer. Clinically, it is ambiguous and majority of patients are identified in the advanced disease stages. Surgery causes loss of identity sexual and reproductive function which may impact on the woman’s health- related quality of life. The objective of the study was to describe the clinicopathological pattern and health-related quality of life among women with ovarian cancer at Mulago hospital. Methods: It was a case series in which 36 women were recruited from oncology unit after obtaining approval by SOMREC and participant’s informed consent. Only patients with histological diagnosis of ovarian cancer were involved in the study. Data on clinical pattern and histological characteristics was collected using an interviewer administered questionnaire. WHOQOL-BREF tool was used assess quality of life. Data analysis was done using STATA and descriptive statistics; mean, mode, standard deviation, range, frequencies and percentages were used to present and summarize results. Results: All patients had experienced symptoms before diagnosis; abdominal symptoms were common to all in addition to urinary and/or constitutional symptoms. Majority 88.9% had advanced disease, 88.9% had epithelial tumors and all were of the serous type. Among those with advanced disease, 71.9% had visited various health units 5 times before the diagnosis was made. Most of the patients (47.3%) were grand multiparas. Quality of life was in all the assessed domains (mean score for all domains was 27.5) and was worst in the psychological domain (mean score18.7%). Conclusion: All patients experienced symptoms before diagnosis, had sought medical care without diagnosis. Majority presented with advanced disease. Quality of life was poor in all the domains with psychological well-being as the worst. Recommendations: MoH to sensitize health professionals about the clinical presentation of ovarian cancer to facilitate early diagnosis. Clinicians to Screen for quality of life among ovarian cancer patients as part of care. Guidelines should be developed to address quality of life related issues. More studies to assess QOL through the period of patients’ treatment and follow-up and identify factors associated with quality of life in ovarian cancer patients.