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Sexual Health: Exploring Patient Needs and Healthcare Provider Comfort and Knowledge

Kristin Leonardi-Warren
Ian Neff
Mary Mancuso
Barbara Wenger
Michael Galbraith
Regina Fink
CJON 2016, 20(6), E162-E167 DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.E162-E167

Background: Sexual health is an important quality-of-life issue for many cancer survivors; however, this issue remains inadequately discussed by healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to explore whether clinical oncology HCPs have adequate knowledge and are comfortable addressing sexual health issues, and to explore and describe patients’ attitudes, beliefs, and informational needs regarding sexual health.

Methods: A survey was completed by HCPs and three patient focus groups were conducted to learn more about sexual health. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and qualitative responses were analyzed using content analysis.

Findings: The majority of survey respondents reported on the importance of discussing sexual concerns with patients, lacked sexual health training, and were uncomfortable discussing sexual health with patients. Focus group participants wanted access to timely information during treatment, online educational resources, and brochures and handouts; involvement of significant others; support from providers, peers, and survivors; and expert consultation.

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