Improving psychosocial and supportive care outcomes of women with ovarian cancer and their partners


The aim of this program of work is to design and evaluate a number of targeted interventions to improve the psychosocial and supportive care outcomes in women with ovarian cancer and their partners.


Professor Phyllis Butow

Research Location

Centre for Medical Psychology & Evidence-based Decision-making (CeMPED)

Program Type



The diagnosis of ovarian cancer precipitates a significant upheaval for women and their families, irrespective of stage. The significant existential threat, alteration to body image and sexual/ reproductive function and the challenge of managing treatment routines and toxicity are difficult for all. Levels of clinical anxiety and/or depression have been documented at around 40% with higher levels in younger women. While long-term adjustment in survivors is generally good, there is a high prevalence of chronic sexual dysfunction (up to 100%). Ovarian cancer patients report psychological well-being as the most important contributing factor in QOL. Not only is there a clinical imperative to improve the care of these women, but increasing evidence suggests that psychosocial factors play a role in survival outcomes. Provision of services to address psychosocial needs is largely lacking, particularly in rural and remote areas. Despite this, there is a paucity of rigorous research on psychosocial issues and decision making in ovarian cancer. Early trends from an ongoing study investigating QOL and psychosocial predictors of outcome in women with ovarian cancer and their partners/carers, points towards high levels of unmet supportive care needs for these women and their partners/carers across the full trajectory of disease. The current study will design and evaluate interventions that will meet these needs, reduce distress, assist in decision-making and improve the QOL of women with ovarian cancer and their partners/carers.

Additional Information

Potential research areas for PhD topics:

  • Development and evaluation of information resources /support services for women with borderline or low malignant potential (LMP) tumours
  • Psychosocial and supportive care needs for caregivers of women with ovarian cancer
  • Patient – caregiver communication
  • How to promote discussions about treatment decision-making
  • Incongruence of information needs – how can this be addressed within the health system?

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Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Caregivers, Psychosocial, Quality of Life, Supportive care needs, Interventions, Body Image, Sexual function, decision making, Cancer & leukaemia, Counselling & patient support, Professional practice, Public health & social medicine

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 132

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