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Fam Syst Health. 2018 Mar;36(1):20-28. doi: 10.1037/fsh0000307.

Clinician barriers to initiating sexual health conversations with breast cancer survivors: The influence of assumptions and situational constraints.

Author information

1
Department of Communication, Wake Forest University.
2
Department of Family Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
3
Department of Advertising, University of Florida.
4
The Edwards Air Force Base Family Health Clinic.
5
Department of Family Medicine, National Capital Consortium Family Medicine Residency.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Sexual health (SH) is an important dimension of physical, emotional, and social functioning after breast cancer (BC). Research suggests that survivors' SH concerns are not being adequately addressed in oncology or primary care settings. It is important to understand why these conversations are not taking place and what can be done to enhance care for women in this context. This research aims to identify when clinicians initiate SH conversations with survivors and to uncover factors that influence these decisions.

METHOD:

Thirty-six clinicians from family medicine, internal medicine, oncology, and gynecology participated in semistructured interviews. Analysis uncovered themes that influence clinicians' decisions about initiating SH conversations with survivors. Attention was given to capturing the personal, professional, and system-level issues that inform clinicians' communication choices.

RESULTS:

Clinicians reported their decisions are based on (a) beliefs about patients, (b) inability to address survivors' concerns, (c) time constraints that affect the delivery of care, and (d) views of professional function in survivor health care.

DISCUSSION:

Clinician decisions are based on sometimes-erroneous assumptions and situational constraints. This suggests the need for medical education and support regarding SH care. Several practice points are outlined to facilitate clinicians' efforts to improve SH care for female BC survivors. (PsycINFO Database Record

PMID:
29608082
DOI:
10.1037/fsh0000307
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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