Sexual Health Concerns Among Cancer Survivors: Testing a Novel Information-Need Measure Among Breast and Prostate Cancer Patients

While it is recognized that cancer treatment can contribute to problems in sexual function, much less is currently known about the specific sexual health concerns and information needs of cancer survivors. This study tested a new instrument to measure cancer survivors' sexual health concerns and needs for sexual information after cancer treatment.

The Information on Sexual Health: Your Needs after Cancer (InSYNC), developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts, is a novel 12-item questionnaire to measure sexual health concerns and information needs of cancer survivors. We tested the measure with a sample of breast and prostate cancer survivors. A convenience sample of 114 cancer survivors (58 breast, 56 prostate) was enrolled. Results of the InSYNC questionnaire showed high levels of sexual concern among cancer survivors.

Areas of concern differed by cancer type. Prostate cancer survivors were most concerned about being able to satisfy their partners (57 %) while breast cancer survivors were most concerned with changes in how their bodies worked sexually (46 %). Approximately 35 % of all cancer survivors wanted more information about sexual health. Sexual health concerns and unmet information needs are common among breast and prostate cancer survivors, varying in some aspects by type of cancer.

Routine screening for sexual health concerns should be included in comprehensive cancer survivorship care to appropriately address health care needs. The InSYNC questionnaire is one tool that may help clinicians identify concerns facing their patients.

J Cancer Educ. 2015 Jun 16. [Epub ahead of print]

Crowley SA1, Foley SM, Wittmann D, Jagielski CH, Dunn RL, Clark PM, Griggs JJ, Peterson C, Leonard M, An LC, Wei JT, Montie JE, Janz NK.

Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


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