Pre- and postmenopausal high-risk women undergoing screening for ovarian cancer: anxiety, risk perceptions, and quality of life

Martee L Hensley, Mark E Robson, Noah D Kauff, Beata Korytowsky, Mercedes Castiel, Jamie Ostroff, Karen Hurley, Lucy E Hann, Jasmine Colon, David Spriggs
Gynecologic Oncology 2003, 89 (3): 440-6

OBJECTIVE: Recommendations for women at high risk of ovarian cancer include prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy (PSO) or screening with transvaginal ultrasonography (TVUS) and CA125 levels. The best strategy for improving survival and maintaining quality of life in high-risk women is not known. Premenopausal women may be more reluctant than postmenopausal women to undergo PSO. However, the risk of false-positive screening results may be more likely in premenopausal women, posing potential psychological risk for those enrolled in high-risk ovarian cancer surveillance programs. We sought to determine whether anxiety, depression, perception of ovarian cancer risk, and false-positive test frequency differed between high-risk premenopausal and postmenopausal women initiating ovarian cancer screening.

METHODS: High-risk women aged > or = 30 years enrolling in a TVUS plus CA125 ovarian cancer screening study completed standard QOL (SF-36), cancer-specific anxiety (IES), depression (CES-D), and ovarian cancer risk perception measures. CA125 > 35 and TVUS showing solid or complex cystic ovarian masses were considered abnormal. Abnormal tests were repeated after 4-6 weeks. Persistently abnormal tests prompted a search for malignancy. Tests that normalized on repeat were considered false positive.

RESULTS: One hundred forty-seven high-risk women, median age 46 (range, 30-78), 78 premenopausal and 69 postmenopausal, had > or = 1 TVUS/CA125/outcome assessment. Premenopausal women were more likely than postmenopausal women to consider themselves at higher risk of ovarian cancer compared with women their age (P < 0.001) and compared with women with similar family histories (P < 0.001). Mean personal perception of lifetime risk of ovarian cancer among premenopausal women was 37% (range, 0-90%) versus 26% (range, 0-60%) among postmenopausal women (P = 0.02). While general QOL and depression scores were similar, 38% of premenopausal women reported high anxiety versus 27% of postmenopausal women (P = 0.03). Thirty percent of women required repeat CA125 or TVUS after first screening; 10.8% of premenopausal women versus 4.6% of postmenopausal women required repeat CA125; and 23.3% of premenopausal and 20.6% of postmenopausal women required repeat TVUS. One postmenopausal woman with persistently rising CA125 >100 had negative mammography, colonoscopy, and dilation and curettage/bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. All other abnormal tests normalized on repeat. Two premenopausal women withdrew due to anxiety following false-positive CA125 results. Five women (2 premenopausal, 3 postmenopausal) with normal TVUS/CA125 screening tests elected PSO, with benign findings.

CONCLUSION: Premenopausal women perceive their ovarian cancer risk to be higher, report greater ovarian cancer risk-related anxiety, and are more likely to have false-positive screening results than postmenopausal women. Few high-risk women elect PSO in the short term. Knowledge of the frequency of false-positive screening results and psychosocial outcomes is important for high-risk women choosing strategies for managing ovarian cancer risk.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"