Introducing Routine Screening in a Gynecological Cancer Setting

Table of Contents

The article, “Detecting distress: Introducing routine screening in a gynecological cancer setting”, by O’Connor, Tanner, Miller, Watts, and Musiello (2017) recognizes the extent of suffering that cancer patients encounter on a daily basis. This paper, which focuses on gynecologic cancer patients, seeks to determine the rate of distress reported among this category of people, the challenges they encounter, and nurses’ responsiveness regarding cancer testing. In evidence-based nursing practice, distress is viewed as one of the primary causes of death among cancer people in contemporary society.

Research Question

Although O’Connor et al. (2017) do not offer an explicit research question, the objectives presented in the article can be used to reveal the issue they sought to investigate. For instance, the authors examine the extent of distress detection and the role this information can play in ensuring early interventions are implemented to reduce cases of preventable deaths among cancer patients. O’Connor et al. (2017) explore health officials’ view that they are unqualified, inadequate training, and their low sense of worth as hindrances to cancer treatment. My view concerning the above issues is that once addressed, nurses would be better placed to reduce the prevalence of distress recorded among gynecologic cancer patients.

Some of the trends that have influenced O’Connor et al. (2017) to investigate the above issues include the finding by Psycho-Oncology Society, which presents distress as a major impediment to people’s health. The prevalence level of mental suffering among cancer patients is between 35% and 49% (O’Connor et al., 2017). Another factor that informed the authors’ decision to explore these aspects is the possible ranking of distress as among the top indicators of cancer.

Research Design

O’Connor et al. (2017) deploy the mixed-methods research design. They gather both qualitative and quantitative facts concerning distress and other predicaments noted among cancer people. This design has the strength of allowing researchers to utilize inductive and deductive analyses. It also reduces levels of preconceptions among scholars. However, regarding weaknesses, the mixed-methods design is not only time-consuming but also requires huge financial resources to gather qualitative and quantitative data. I believe that this study design was adopted because it gives researchers the chance to combine the strengths of qualitative and quantitative study methods.


The study utilized a sample of 68 people, including women suffering from gynecologic cancer, health officials, social workers, and physiotherapists. It is impossible to assess whether this sample size was sufficient or not because the authors do not mention the population of cancer patients in the selected hospital. About 62 cancer-ailing women took part in the research for 6 months. In relation to the research issues and objectives, this number of participants may be regarded as adequate in revealing the level of distress among women suffering from gynecologic cancer. However, the failure to identify the population size from where the numbers were selected from makes it difficult to determine whether they are adequate. Another gap noted in this study is the lack of a sampling criterion.

Data Collection Methods

An unidentified research officer (RO) was responsible for the data collection process. Questionnaires and one-on-one interviews were deployed as data gathering tools. Regarding ethical considerations, the RO allowed participants to sign consent forms if they were interested in taking part in the research. A gap is evident because the officer never addressed the issue of keeping participants’ details anonymous.


Some of the limitations of this study include the lack of a mechanism for preventing interviewees’ data from being accessed by unauthorized people, especially during the digital transmission process. The authors also do not test the legitimacy and dependability of the selected data collection tools. In subsequent studies, O’Connor et al. (2017) may seal these gaps by ensuring that information protection mechanisms are in place before subjecting participants to interviews, especially if they are classified as vulnerable groups.

Moreover, they may wish to have an alternative means of recording data in case the digital tools available fail to function as anticipated. The authors may also need to have validity and reliability testing approaches as a way of ensuring that the selected data collection instruments provide efficient data, which can be used to make consistent conclusions. It is crucial to list and even discuss limitations because it helps readers and other interested scholars to identify areas of improvement when conducting similar studies.


The study found a positive connection between distress levels and the extent of challenges reported among cancer patients (O’Connor et al., 2017). Cancer screening was also found to be beneficial to both patients and health officials because early detection would be accompanied by the appropriate intervention, including nurses’ training, to address the associated problems. These findings answered the implicit research question identified earlier because distress levels were found to be high among cancer patients. As Mackenzie et al. (2018) reveal, more screenings and further training of health officials would be appropriate to minimize deaths among this category of patients.


The article depicts distress as a vital sign of cancer. Early discovery and proper training among nurses may help to improve the outcomes of cancer patients. A practice change is needed because these strategies also alter health officials’ perception of cancer testing and treatment, hence contributing to reduced cases of suffering and deaths reported in various medical facilities.

The evidence found is sufficient to suggest a change in practice because the observed distress level of between 35% and 49% is enough to trigger the need for nurses to seek further expertise to improve the outcomes of these patients (O’Connor et al., 2017). Conclusively, the increased cases of cancer in contemporary society requires nurses and all stakeholders involved to execute preventive measures such as proper feeding habits and regular screening of people.


Mackenzie, L. J., Carey, M. L., Suzuki, E., Sanson-Fisher, R. W., Asada, H., Ogura, M., … Toi, M. (2018). Agreement between patients’ and radiation oncologists’ cancer diagnosis and prognosis perceptions: A cross sectional study in Japan. PLoS ONE, 13(6), 1-14. Web.

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

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