Detecting Distress: Introducing Routine Screening in a Gynecologic Cancer Setting

Moira O’Connor

Pauline B. Tanner

Lisa Miller

Kaaren Watts

Toni Musiello

gynecologic cancer, oncology, distress screening, Distress Thermometer
CJON 2017, 21(1), 79-85. DOI: 10.1188/17.CJON.79-85

Background: Cancer results in a wide range of challenges that contribute to patient distress. Detecting distress in patients can result in improved patient outcomes, and early intervention can avoid patients having unmet needs.

Objectives: The aims were to determine the prevalence of distress in patients with gynecologic cancers, identify specific problems, and explore staff perceptions of distress screening.

Methods: A mixed-methods design was used. Quantitative data were collected on distress levels and problems. Qualitative interviews were conducted with healthcare professionals.

Findings: Sixty-six percent of women scored 4 or greater on the Distress Thermometer, which was used as the indicator for follow-up or referral. A third reported low distress, and the same proportion was highly distressed. The top five problems identified by participants were nervousness, worry, fears, fatigue, and sleep problems.

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