A description of the nutritional status and quality of life of Australian gynaecological cancer patients over time
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Purpose of the research: To describe the quality of life, nutritional status and physical activity of women with gynaecological cancer over three time points. Methods and sample: Women referred to a major gynaecological cancer service in Sydney for initial treatment were invited to complete validated questionnaires at baseline, three and six months after diagnosis. Quality of life was assessed using the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF36) and the Symptom Distress Scale. Nutritional status was assessed using the Patient Generated-Subjective Global Assessment and physical activity was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire short form.Effect sizes corrected for correlation were calculated using Cohen's d and Friedman's test was used to compare scores. Complete case analysis was used. Key results: Forty women were recruited and twenty-three (58%) completed assessment measures for all three time points. No important clinical or demographic differences existed between women who completed all measures and those who did not.Over the duration of the study, the number of well-nourished women increased from 16 to 21, while the number of malnourished women decreased from 7 to 2. Improvements in SF36 scores were seen in all aspects except general health, which declined (p> 0.05). Statistically significant (p< 0.05) improvements were seen for role physical, vitality, social functioning and role emotional. The median number of minutes of physical activity per week was highest at diagnosis and declined after that. Conclusions: This study indicates the importance of assessing nutritional status at diagnosis for women with gynaecological cancer.