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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 40-45

Coping Strategies among Malaysian Women with Recurrent Ovarian Cancer: A Qualitative Study

1 Department of Primary Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
BA, PhD Yew Kong Lee
Department of Primary Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/apjon.apjon_38_20

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Objective: Ovarian cancer is one of the most common cancers among Malaysian women with high recurrence. Patients with recurrence are prone to emotional distress and are forced to cope with poor prognosis. This study aimed to explore the coping strategies employed by women with recurrent ovarian cancer in Malaysia, a developing multicultural country in Asia. Methods: This was a qualitative study with patients diagnosed with recurrent ovarian cancer and receiving chemotherapy at a hospital gynecologic day-care unit. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with patients to explore how they coped with recurrence of ovarian cancer. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically. Results: The participants' (n = 10) age range was 52–84 years, the three most common ethnic backgrounds were represented (Malay, Chinese, and Indian), and most of the patients were well educated. All patients were on chemotherapy. Six coping strategies were identified: (1) maintaining a mindset of hopefulness, (2) avoidance of information, (3) accepting their condition, (4) seeking spiritual help, (5) relying on family for support, and (6) coping with financial costs. Conclusions: Coping strategies employed during ovarian cancer recurrence in this setting were rarely based on the accurate information appraisal, but rather on the individual emotion and personal beliefs.

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