Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 531–538 | Cite as

Disparities in health-related quality of life in women undergoing treatment for advanced ovarian cancer: the role of individual-level and contextual social determinants

  • Jennifer L. Moss
  • Jeanne Murphy
  • Virginia L. Filiaci
  • Lari B. Wenzel
  • Lori Minasian
  • Sarah M. TemkinEmail author
Original Article



Social determinants may influence health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among women with ovarian cancer, potentially creating disparities in clinical outcomes. We investigated the relationship between HRQOL and social determinants of health, including travel distance to access cancer care and health insurance type, among women participating in a randomized trial of primary adjuvant treatment for advanced ovarian cancer.


The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Ovarian (FACT-O) questionnaire captured HRQOL (physical well-being, functional well-being, ovarian-specific, and trial outcome index [TOI]) prior to chemotherapy (baseline), during the trial, and 84 weeks after initiation of chemotherapy for women with advanced epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer. We constructed bivariate and multivariable linear mixed effects models examining the associations of social determinants of health (individual-level and contextual factors) with HRQOL scores at 84 weeks, clustering participants (n = 993) within treatment centers, and Census regions and controlling for baseline HRQOL.


Most individual-level (race, age, cancer stage, adverse events) and contextual (travel distance to treatment center, community socioeconomic status) factors were not statistically significantly associated with HRQOL. Compared to participants with private health insurance, other participants had lower mean HRQOL (physical well-being: public insurance, − 1.00 (standard error[SE] = 0.49) points, uninsured, − 1.93 (SE = 0.63) points; functional well-being: public, − 1.29 (SE = 0.59), uninsured, − 1.98 (SE = 0.76); ovarian cancer-specific: public, − 1.60 (SE = 0.59), uninsured, − 1.66 (SE = 0.75); TOI: public, − 3.81 (SE = 1.46), uninsured, − 5.51 (SE = 1.86); all p < .05).


Private health insurance was associated with improved HRQOL at the completion of treatment for advanced stage ovarian cancer. Implications of health insurance on HRQOL should be further investigated, particularly among women with ovarian cancer who receive standard of care treatment.


Health-related quality of life Social determinants of health Travel distance Health insurance Community health Ovarian cancer 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This manuscript was prepared or accomplished by the authors in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the authors’ own and do not reflect the view of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the US government. The statements presented in this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), its Board of Governors, or its Methodology Committee. Original data are maintained by NRG Oncology.

Supplementary material

520_2018_4340_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary Table S1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.George Washington University School of NursingWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Roswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  4. 4.University of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  5. 5.Massey Cancer CenterRichmondUSA

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