‘Parcours de Femme 2001’: a French opinion survey on overall disease and everyday life management in 1870 women presenting with gynecological or breast cancer and their caregivers

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PurposeThe aim of the survey ‘Parcours de Femmes 2001’ was to evaluate the overall management and care of women with female cancers and to determine their needs.MethodsWomen with breast or gynecological cancer who had either received at least 3 months of treatment or had completed treatment <1 year before the study were enrolled in this cross-sectional, observational study.ResultsFrom February to November 2001, 2839 questionnaires were distributed; 1870 were returned (66% response rate), mainly by breast cancer patients (87%). While 92% of women reported having received information at diagnosis, 34% of relapsed patients complained of lack of information concerning their disease and treatment. Only 18% of patients were included in the treatment decision process and 66% of women obtained complementary information from the media, patients and care professionals. Fatigue was the most severe problem quoted (78% of cases) and was poorly managed by caregivers due to diagnostic and treatment difficulties. Problems relating to family and to affective and socio-professional life were poorly identified and remained largely unmanaged.ConclusionsInformation given to female cancer patients must be improved in relapsed patients, particularly regarding the adverse effects of treatment. Psychosocial management requires a more holistic approach through new channels, together with the coordination of existing structures.

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