0

No votes yet

Journal Club
Open Access Article

The Impact on Sexuality After Diagnosis and Treatment for a Hematologic Malignancy: Findings From Australia

Pam D. McGrath
ONF 2012, 39(6), 595-600 DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.595-600

Purpose/Objectives: To present findings on the impact of diagnosis and treatment on sexuality for those diagnosed with a hematologic malignancy.

Research Approach: A qualitative design based on a series of open-ended interviews and one focus group.

Setting: Queensland, Australia.

Participants: 50 participants representing the major hematologic diagnostic groups.

Methodologic Approach: Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and then coded and thematically analyzed for the research.

Findings: The impact of the disease and treatment on sexuality ranged from participants experiencing no problems or having a brief impact that passes over time, to those who reported serious problems that significantly affected their life satisfaction. Some concerns were raised about the taboo nature of sexuality and the lack of discussion on the topic.

Conclusions: The findings contradict prior research that all patients with cancer will experience an impact on their sexuality by diagnosis and treatment. The current study indicates that a small subgroup of individuals diagnosed with hematologic malignancies are acutely distressed about issues regarding sexuality and require follow-up.

Interpretation: Individuals diagnosed with a hematologic malignancy may have difficulties with their sexuality and will, therefore, require follow-up or assistance. A subset of individuals will require understanding, support, and, for some, referral to follow-up with a specialist. As major obstacles still exist for patients accessing appropriate professional support and advice on sexuality, oncology nursing can provide leadership in this area.

References 

Beckjord, E. B., Arora, N. K., Bellizzi, K., Hamilton A. S., & Rowland, J. H. (2011). Sexual well-being among survivors of non-Hodgkin lymphoma [Online exclusive]. <i>Oncology Nursing Forum, 38</i>, E351-E359. doi:10.1188/11.ONF.E351-E359

Bruner, D., & Calvano, T. (2007). The sexual impact of cancer and cancer treatments in men. <i>Nursing Clinics of North America, 42</i>, 555-580. doi:10.1016/j.cnur.2007.07.005

Galbraith, M. E., & Crighton, F. (2008). Alterations of sexual function in men with cancer. <i>Seminars in Oncology Nursing, 24</i>, 102-114. doi:10.1016/j.soncn.2008.02.010

Hautamäki, K., Miettinen, M., Kellokumpu-Lehtinen, P. L., Aalto, P., & Lehto, J. (2007). Opening communication with cancer patients about sexuality-related issues. <i>Cancer Nursing, 30</i>, 399-404.

Hordern, A. J., & Street, A. F. (2007). Constructions of sexuality and intimacy after cancer: Patient and health professional perspectives. <i>Social Science and Medicine, 64</i>, 1704-1718. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.12.012

Jonker-Pool, G., Hoekstra, H. J., van Imhoff, G. W., Sonneveld, D. J., Sleifer, D. T., van Driel, M. F., … van de Wiel, H. B. (2004). Male sexuality after cancer treatment—Needs for information and support: Testicular cancer compared to malignant lymphoma. <i>Patient Education and Counseling, 52</i>, 143-150. doi:10.1016/S0738-3991(03)00025-9

Kaplan, M., & Pacelli, R. (2011). The sexuality discussion: Tools for the oncology nurse. <i>Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 15</i>, 15-17. doi:10.1188/11.CJON.15-17

Lee, J. J. (2011). Sexual dysfunction after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. <i>Oncology Nursing Forum, 38</i>, 409-412. doi:10.1188/11.ONF.409-412

McGrath, P. D., Hartigan, B., Holewa, H., & Skaparis, M. (2011). 'Chemo brain': Research findings indicate need for caution. <i>Austral-Asian Journal of Cancer, 10</i>(3), 33-41.

McGrath, P. D., Hartigan, B., Holewa, H., & Skarparis, M. (2012). Returning to work after treatment for haematological cancer: Findings from Australia. <i>Supportive Care in Cancer, 20</i>, 1957-1964. doi:10.1007/s00520-011-1298-2

McGrath, P. D., & Holewa, H. A. (2007). Description of an Australian model for end-of-life care in patients with haematologic malignancies. <i>Oncology Nursing Forum, 34</i>, 79-85. doi:10.1188/07.ONF.79-85

Park, E. R., Norris, R. L., & Bober, S. L. (2009). Sexual health communication during cancer care: Barriers and recommendations. <i>Cancer Journal, 15</i>, 74-77. doi:10.1097/PPO.0b013e31819587dc

Recklitis, C. J., Sanchez Varela, V., Ng, A., Mauch, P., & Bober, S. (2010). Sexual functioning in long-term survivors of Hodgkin's lymphoma. <i>Psycho-Oncology, 19</i>, 1229-1233.

Reese, J. B. (2011). Coping with sexual concerns after cancer. <i>Current Opinion in Oncology, 23</i>, 313-321.

Rice, A. (2000). Sexuality in cancer and palliative care. <i>International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 6</i>, 392-397.

Richards, T., Bertolotti, P., Doss, D., & McCullagh, E. (2011). Sexual dysfunction in multiple myeloma: Survivorship care plan of the Internal Myeloma Foundation Nurse Leadership Board. <i>Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 15</i>(Suppl. 1), S53-S65. doi:10.1188/11 .CJON.S1.53-65

Southard, N. Z., & Keller, J. (2009). The importance of assessing sexuality: A patient perspective. <i>Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 13</i>, 213-217. doi:10.1188/09.CJON.213-217

Yi, J. C., & Syrjala, K. L. (2009). Sexuality after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. <i>Cancer Journal, 15</i>, 57-64.