International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics vol:83 Suppl 1 pages:211-29
Advances in the treatment of gynecologic cancer have extended the duration of survival of many patients. However, these patients frequently experience a variety of treatment- and disease-related side effects that diminish their quality of life (QOL) during and after treatment; among these are pain, nausea and vomiting, anemia, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, emotional distress, and sexual dysfunction. Given the gains in survival time, patient care is being expanded to include enhancement or preservation of QOL in addition to early diagnosis and disease treatment, thus treating the whole person. In parallel with this evolution in cancer care, supportive measures are being increasingly recognized as crucial to effective patient management. This paper reviews some of the potential causes of diminished QOL in gynecologic cancer patients and basic treatment strategies for their control, with a focus on short-term QOL issues. It is important that clinicians monitor QOL during the course of the disease and its treatment, utilize procedures and therapeutic agents that take patient preferences and QOL into account, and proactively prevent and treat relevant symptoms.