How does patient-centered communication in ovarian cancer care enhance patient well-being? A mixed methods study

Published:August 31, 2022DOI:


      • Patient-clinician communication is positively associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in ovarian cancer care.
      • Patients' perceptions of clinicians' commitment, self-care burden, and psychosocial support may influence HRQoL.
      • Empathetic communication strategies and patient navigation services may shape these influences.
      • Eliciting information preferences prior to information exchange may promote well-being in these patients.



      Greater perceived patient-centered communication (PCC) is associated with better health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with ovarian cancer. Quantitative measures of PCC and HRQoL do little to explain this association. We interviewed patients with high and low ratings of PCC to understand how it is associated with HRQoL.


      Explanatory sequential mixed methods study. Participants were English-speaking U.S. adults with ovarian cancer. We assessed PCC with the Patient-Centered Communication - Cancer (PCC-Ca)-36 (possible score range 1–5; higher scores represent greater patient-centeredness), and purposively sampled 14 participants with total scores in the top and bottom quartiles. Participants completed individual, semi-structured interviews about their communication experiences. Guided by the National Cancer Institute Framework for PCC in Cancer Care, we analyzed interview transcripts using directed content analysis. We integrated survey and interview findings in a joint display.


      Among 176 survey respondents, PCC-Ca-36 total scores ranged from 1.7 to 5.0. Participants with scores in the top quartile (4.8–5.0) perceived clinicians as proactive and attentive to psychosocial concerns. Those with scores in the bottom quartile (1.7–3.5) described not feeling known as an individual and receiving limited support for self-management.


      The association between PCC and QoL may be partially explained by differences in perceived support for psychosocial concerns and self-management. PCC may facilitate receipt of proactive, personalized care.


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