Gynecologic Cancer. “Detecting Distress” by O’Connor et al.

Table of Contents

Purpose of the Study

Being the leading cause of fatal outcomes in patients worldwide, cancer has become one of the key areas of concern in modern healthcare and nursing. Therefore, when being diagnosed with cancer, most patients succumb to immediate panic, which transforms into further depression and comorbid health issues (Gaffney et al., 2015). In their study, O’Connor, Tanner, Miller, Watts, and Musiello (2017) focus on the identification and further management of distress caused by a cancer diagnosis in the gynecological setting. The authors pursue three major goals, which are evaluating the prevalence of stress in female cancer patients, locate the associated issues, and study the attitudes toward distress-related tests in nurses.

Research & Design

Since the goals of the study include both identifying changes in the attitudes of the participants to the concept of cancer screenings and the efficacy of these changes on patient outcomes, the mixed research design was selected for the study. The rationale behind the choice is quite legitimate, especially given the fact that the study aims not only at studying the attitudes toward cancer screenings in the OB-GYN setting but also connecting the specified measure to the efficacy of managing the described health issue.

Sample: The sample of 62 participants also seems to be a sensible number for proving the existence of a connection between more frequent cancer screenings and successful management of gynecologic cancer. The presence of gynecologic cancer was used as the inclusion criteria for participating in the study and, thus, the main characteristics of the participants. In addition, interviews with six nurses working in the OB-GYN setting and addressing oncological issues were taken. The sampling technique utilized in the research falls under the category of convenience sampling since participants were selected based on whether they were inpatients or the staff of the hospital in which the study took place.

Data Collection

To gather the data needed to evaluate the changes in the management of patients’ needs and in nurses’ attitudes, O’Connor et al. (2017) used several data collection tools. One of them was represented by interviews conducted with nurses to obtain qualitative information. The tool in question helped to prepare the data for the further categorization of key pieces of information and their arrangement in a way that leads to the discovery of key themes in the discourse.

Data Analysis

Changes in the levels of distress and anxiety associated with being aware of the diagnosis in patients with gynecological cancer became evident after the analysis results were displayed. The collected data describing the rise in the extent of effectiveness that gynecologic cancer screenings provide indicates that the attitude toward offering the described procedure needs to be challenged. For instance, the research points out that “Twenty-one participants scored 7 or higher, which has been suggested to be a more appropriate cutoff than 4” (O’Connor et al., 2017). Thus, nurses need to be more encouraging in suggesting patient cancer screenings and offering education about the significance that these procedures have on detecting cancer.


The research included several limitations discussed and addressed by the authors. For example, O’Connor et al. mention that retracing the quantitative information was very difficult due to the problems with contacting patients. Therefore, the levels of credibility are reduced slightly. Nevertheless, the authors claim that most patients were approached successfully (O’Connor et al., 2017).


The outcomes of the analysis allow inferring that there is a correlation between the age of patients and the extent of distress that they experience. Older patients have shown a greater tendency to develop anxiety when receiving information about having cancer (O’Connor et al., 2017). The interesting detail that the authors could have explored is the difference in the cultural perceptions of the disease and its possible outcomes.

Reading Research Literature

Reading research literature is the gateway to understanding contemporary health problems and the direction in which current studies are geared. Research literature keeps one updated on recent innovative solutions offered to manage health concerns, as well as encourages the reader to become actively invested in the process of scientific analysis. Therefore, reading research literature is a crucial activity for a health professional.


Gaffney, D. K., Suneja, G., Ryu, S. Y., McCormick, M., Plante, M., Mileshkin, L.,… Kitchener, H. (2015). The cervix cancer research network: A global outreach effort on behalf of the gynecologic cancer intergroup. International Journal of Radiation Oncology• Biology• Physics, 92(3), 506-508. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.02.054

O’Connor, M., Tanner, P., Miller, L., Watts, K., & Musiello, T. (2017). Detecting distress: Introducing routine screening in a gynecologic cancer setting. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 21(1), 79-85. doi:10.1188/17.cjon.79-85

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