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Supportive Care Needs After Gynecologic Cancer: Where Does Sexual Health Fit in?

Megan McCallum
Lynne Jolicoeur
Monique Lefebvre
Lyzon K. Babchishin
Stéphanie Robert-Chauret
Tien Le
Sophie Lebel
ONF 2014, 41(3), 297-306 DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.297-306

Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional study.

Setting: Follow-up clinic of a gynecologic oncology program in a regional cancer center.

Sample: 113 women treated for gynecologic cancer.

Methods: Data were collected using standardized instruments and analyzed through descriptive and correlation statistics.

Main Research Variables: Supportive care needs, sexual health needs, vaginal changes, desire for help, and socio-demographic and medical factors.

Findings: Forty percent of the sample was worried about the status of their sex life and many wished to meet one-on-one with a health professional or to receive written information. Younger age, premenopausal status at diagnosis, and lower sexual satisfaction and more vaginal changes after treatment were associated with greater sexual health needs and desire for help.

Conclusions: Several sexual health needs were among the highest reported supportive care needs. Certain subgroups may report higher needs and desire for help; this domain merits additional research. Needs were extremely diverse, reflecting the use of an individual approach to screening for and meeting survivor needs.

Implications for Nursing: Personal perceptions of the implications and meaning of sexual health and vaginal changes create the subjective experience of a need. Discussions of the women's perceptions of their needs and their views of healthy sexuality will help develop effective treatment plans.

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