The treatment experiences of Australian women with gynaecological cancers and how they can be improved: a qualitative study

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Wainer, Jo
Willis, Eileen Mary
Dwyer, Judith Margaret
King, Debra Suzanne
Owada, Kei
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Taylor & Francis Group
© 2012 Reproductive Health Matters
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Reproductive Health Matters
Gynaecological cancers are the fourth most common form of cancer and the fifth most common cause of cancer mortality for women in Australia. Definitive treatment is available in tertiary hospitals in major capital cities. This study aimed to understand how care is received by women in order to improve both their experience and outcomes. We interviewed 25 women treated for ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers in public or private hospitals in four states, including urban, rural and Indigenous women. Referral pathways were efficient and effective; the women were diagnosed and referred for definitive management through well-established systems. They appreciated the quality of treatment and the care they received during the inpatient and acute phases of their care. Three main problems were identified – serious post-operative morbidity that caused additional pain and suffering, lack of coordination between the surgical team and general practitioners, and poor pain management. The lack of continuity between the acute and primary care settings and inadequate management of pain are acknowledged problems in health care. The extent of post-operative morbidity was not anticipated. Establishing links between the surgical team and primary care in the immediate post-operative period is crucial for the improvement of care for women with gynaecological cancer in Australia.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, continuity of care,, post-operative morbidity, women’s health services, rural health, Australia
Jo Wainer, Eileen Willis, Judith Dwyer, Debra King & Kei Owada (2012) The treatment experiences of Australian women with gynaecological cancers and how they can be improved: a qualitative study, Reproductive Health Matters, 20:40, 38-48, DOI: 10.1016/ S0968-8080(12)40658-9