Heidi Donovan Discusses Prioritizing Symptoms

Heidi Donovan, PhD, RN
Published: Friday, Jul 13, 2012

Heidi Donovan, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, discusses prioritizing symptoms based on their severity in order to aid symptom management and assessment for women with ovarian cancer.

Donovan notes that some symptoms of ovarian cancer are always going to be the most prevalent and severe, no matter which method you use to prioritize. The top three almost always include fatigue, sleep disturbances, and pain. However, some symptoms appear in different locations depending on the method used for prioritizing. For instance, nausea may not always be highly prevalent or a symptom that women say needs to be controlled but it has an effect on functional well being.

The best method of prioritizing the symptoms of ovarian cancer is to combine all of the possible methods. If anything reaches the top ten for the combination then it is definitely a symptom that needs recognition and treatment.

Heidi Donovan, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, discusses prioritizing symptoms based on their severity in order to aid symptom management and assessment for women with ovarian cancer.

Donovan notes that some symptoms of ovarian cancer are always going to be the most prevalent and severe, no matter which method you use to prioritize. The top three almost always include fatigue, sleep disturbances, and pain. However, some symptoms appear in different locations depending on the method used for prioritizing. For instance, nausea may not always be highly prevalent or a symptom that women say needs to be controlled but it has an effect on functional well being.

The best method of prioritizing the symptoms of ovarian cancer is to combine all of the possible methods. If anything reaches the top ten for the combination then it is definitely a symptom that needs recognition and treatment.


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