Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Patient Educ Couns. 2019 Mar;102(3):436-442. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2018.10.003. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

Patient-clinician communication about sexual health in breast cancer: A mixed-methods analysis of clinic dialogue.

Author information

1
Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, USA. Electronic address: Jennifer.Reese@fccc.edu.
2
Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, USA.
3
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA.
4
Department of Clinical Genetics, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, USA.
5
Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA.
6
Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Breast cancer patients' sexual health needs are frequently unmet. We examined the prevalence and content of communication about sexual health between breast cancer patients and clinicians.

METHODS:

Female breast cancer patients being seen in oncology clinic follow-up had a clinic visit audio recorded and self-reported sexual problems after the visit. Transcripts were coded for sexual health communication; data were analyzed descriptively or using Chi-square tests.

RESULTS:

We recorded 67 patients (81% participation rate) interacting with one of 7 cancer clinicians (5 physicians; 2 advanced practice clinicians). Approximately 1/3 of women (n = 22) reported sexual problems; sexual health communication occurred with 10/22 of those women (45%). Across all 67 patients, 27 (40%) visits contained communication about sexual health. Seventy-percent of sexual health communication was clinician-initiated. When in-depth sexual health discussions occurred, the most common topics discussed were sexual inactivity (6), body image (5), vaginal dryness (4), and safety of sexual activity (2).

CONCLUSION:

Communication about sexual health was uncommon even for women reporting sexual problems and was largely initiated by clinicians.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Because women with breast cancer often do not raise sexual concerns during clinic visits, breast cancer clinicians should raise the topic of sexual health for all patients.

KEYWORDS:

Breast cancer; Dialogue analysis; Patient-provider communication; Sexual health

PMID:
30314828
PMCID:
PMC6421101
[Available on 2020-03-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2018.10.003

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center