Important Aspects of Health Care for Women With Gynecologic Cancer

Ewa Ekwall

Britt-Marie Ternestedt

Bengt Sorbe

ONF 2003, 30(2), 313-319. DOI: 10.1188/03.ONF.313-319

Purpose/Objectives: To describe what women diagnosed with primary gynecologic cancer reported to be important during their interaction with the healthcare system.

Design: Qualitative.

Setting: A specialized gynecologic cancer care unit in central Sweden.

Sample: 14 women diagnosed with primary gynecologic cancer were recruited. The women had been referred to the specialized care unit for radiation or cytostatic therapy.

Methods: Tape-recorded interviews were transcribed, coded, categorized, and analyzed.

Main Research Variables: Primary diagnosed women with cancer and their experience with quality of care during diagnosis and treatment.

Findings: Three partly overlapping categories (i.e., optimal care, good communication, and self-image and sexuality) were found to be of central importance in quality of health care. Participants stated that health care should be based on their own perceptions of the need for information and dialogue and how the disease and treatment would affect their health, self-image, and sexuality. Everyday conversations also were very important.

Conclusions: Central importance in health care for the women included both rational and human aspects. The primary need of participants was to achieve a rapid cure, which necessitated health care that was available, competent, and coordinated.

Implications for Nursing: Women with gynecologic cancer should be given individualized information and care to satisfy their individual needs and reinforce their self-image. Nurses have an important role in strengthening women's feelings of hope and supporting them in maintaining as positive a self-image as possible. Information and everyday conversation are of great significance. Sexuality should be an integral part of holistic care; to this end, inclusion of each woman's sexual partner may be helpful when discussions concerning sexuality occur.

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