Whisperings of Ovarian Cancer: Acknowledging Women's Voices

Anita Smith

CJON 2008, 12(6), 913-920. DOI: 10.1188/08.CJON.913-920

Ovarian cancer is described as being a whisper because it is challenging to diagnose at an early stage. Women need the voice to respond to the whisperings and nurses need to listen and acknowledge these voices. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study is to examine personal stories of ovarian cancer within the framework of Women's Ways of Knowing (WWK) to understand how women voice their "whisperings of ovarian cancer" and their interactions with healthcare providers. The importance of listening and acknowledging a woman's voice is illustrated by the five categories of knowing delineated by WWK. The categories of knowing are silence, received knowledge, subjective knowledge, procedural knowledge, and constructed knowledge. Listening for a woman's voice, acknowledging her voice, and being an advocate for her voice are key components of holistic care. Listening may play an instrumental role in the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

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