Learning about ovarian cancer at the time of diagnosis: Video versus usual care

Melissa A. Geller, Levi S. Downs, Patricia L. Judson, Rahel Ghebre, Peter A. Argenta, Linda F. Carson, Amy L. Jonson, Kristen Godfrey, Rachel Isaksson Vogel, Sue V. Petzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Effective patient -clinician communication at diagnosis is important, yet decreased provider time for face-to-face interactions makes traditional paradigms in cancer care difficult. We evaluated the effects of an educational video on patients' distress, cancer knowledge, coping skills and attitudes regarding learning about cancer at the time of ovarian cancer diagnosis. Methods: An educational video was developed in which oncology professionals, women with ovarian cancer, and their relatives discussed cancer information and experiences. Women admitted for initial diagnostic surgical staging for ovarian cancer were randomized to the educational or placebo video. Before and after the video, patients completed measures of (1) ovarian cancer information, (2) emotional distress, (3) learning attitudes, and (4) coping self-efficacy. Outcomes were analyzed for differences in mean change between intervention and placebo groups using t-tests. Results: Fifty-nine subjects were randomized (30 intervention/29 placebo). The majority were advanced staged, white, insured, high school educated, employed, and rated their disease seriousness as high. Anxiety, general distress and cancer-specific distress were high. Pre-post video: distress and self-efficacy between groups were unchanged, intervention subjects answered more knowledge items correctly (p = 0.0004) and developed more negative learning attitudes (p = 0.037). Following the educational video, patients who developed more negative attitudes also had increased intrusive thinking (p = 0.046), a sign of increased distress. Conclusions: Video presentation of cancer-related information increases learning under conditions of high distress and disease threat however, it is not without risk for some. Differing information needs may affect women's emotional response under these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Eileen Harwood, Department of Epidemiology, for assistance in the design of the patient surveys used in this study. Funding for the video was provided by Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation, The University of Minnesota Women’s Health Fund, and Tibotec Therapeutics.


  • Education
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Video


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