Epidemiological and Genetic Factors Associated With Ovarian Cancer

Monica R. McLemore, RN, MPH; Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD, FAAN; Bradley E. Aouizerat, PhD, MAS; Lee-may Chen, MD; Marylin J. Dodd, RN, PhD, FAAN


Cancer Nurs. 2009;32(4):281-288. 

In This Article

Nursing Implications

Nurses can use the information provided in each section of this article to improve care for cancer patients in at least 3 distinct ways. Nurses can integrate this information in patient teaching and clinical care. During routine physical examinations (where most stages I and II ovarian tumors are detected), nurses can assess family histories and construct thorough family pedigrees. Pedigrees are a graphical representation of a family tree or history using standardized symbols that nurses can use to screen for families with potential hereditary syndromes.[13] Data obtained from the pedigree can be used to refer patients for risk assessment and genetic counseling.

Second, nurses who conduct research with healthy women can include key variables in their studies that can contribute to our understanding of the demographic and epidemiological factors that impact the risk of healthy women developing ovarian cancer. Nurses collect data from women and their families that may contribute to refining the risk factors for ovarian cancer and possibly identifying high-risk subgroups susceptible to these tumors. In addition, nurses can use the OCSI in research studies to determine its sensitivity and specificity in low-risk, healthy women.

Finally, nurses can disseminate this information to their coworkers, family members, and other women in their lives to increase awareness of the potential risk factors for ovarian cancer.


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