PubMed | Lankenau Medical Center Wynnewood, Riddle Hospital and Lankenau Institute for Medical Research
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Sexual medicine | Year: 2015
Sexual health care remains an unmet need for women with cancer. Many barriers are described, such as provider discomfort and lack of training; however, there is little evidence-based guidance regarding how to effectively address these obstacles.This pilot study was performed to determine whether brief, targeted sexual health training for oncology providers results in improved provider comfort level and frequency of addressing female cancer-related sexual issues.A brief (30-45 minute), targeted sexual health training program focused on improving comfort level, knowledge and communication skills when addressing breast cancer-related sexual issues was developed by the primary author. Using a pretest-posttest format, this educational program was provided to oncology providers (physicians and nurses/other allied health) from a suburban health-care system. Surveys based on 5-point Likert scales were provided before and 3-6 month post training.Primary endpoints were changes in mean Likert scores for provider comfort level and self-reported frequency of addressing sexual issues. A secondary endpoint was change in mean Likert scores for perception of access to sexual health resources/referrals.Eligible respondents included 8 oncologists, 4 surgeons, and 62 nurses/other allied health. For total respondents, comparison of mean Likert scores for survey 1 (n=71) and survey 2 (n=36) demonstrated statistically significant increases for all parameters queried, including provider comfort level with bringing up (Pre mean Likert score=3.4, Post=4.3, P<0.0001) and coordinating care (Pre=3.5, Post=4.6, P<0.0001), and frequency of addressing sexual issues for both diagnosis/treatment and surveillance phase (Pre=2.4, Post=3.3, P0.0052).Brief, targeted sexual health training for oncology providers positively correlated with improved provider comfort level and frequency of addressing female cancer-related sexual issues.