Preserving Oneself in the Face of Uncertainty: A Grounded Theory Study of Women With Ovarian Cancer

Rachel Pozzar

Donna L. Berry

ovarian cancer, self-concept, decision making, patient-centered care
ONF 2019, 46(5), 595-603. DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.595-603

Purpose: To describe the cancer care process as it is perceived by women with ovarian cancer.

Participants & Setting: 18 English-speaking adult women with ovarian cancer were recruited from an advocacy organization for patients with ovarian cancer and the gynecologic oncology clinic at a community-based teaching hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Methodologic Approach: A grounded theory approach was used. Data were collected via individual interviews with participants.

Findings: An overarching theme of preserving oneself in the face of uncertainty was described by the participants. Trajectories from prediagnosis to treatment were influenced by the quality of patient–provider communication, support from significant others, and self-concept aspects.

Implications for Nursing: Comprehensive care that validates patient concerns and supports information exchange is essential. Nurses can promote the physical and psychological well-being of women with ovarian cancer by identifying institutional and community-based resources for support and specialty care.

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