Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Development and Implementation of the Sexual and Vaginal Health After Cancer (SVHC) Care Pathway in a Rural Oncology Clinic
by Davis, Lori, D.N.P., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2020, 94; 27960544
Abstract (Summary)

Sexual and vaginal health concerns are common for women after cancer, but providers do not often address sexual functioning with their female patients. Providers and women note multiple barriers to communication but women consistently report valuing sex even after treatment for cancer and want more support when they have problems. Female cancer survivors in rural areas are especially vulnerable but usually lack access to support services. A literature review was completed to develop a novel approach, the Sexual and Vaginal Health after Cancer (SVHC) care pathway, rooted in the PLISSIT model of sex therapy. The SVHC care pathway, which consists of a screening tool and resources for provision of limited information or referrals, was implemented in a rural oncology clinic. A convenience sample of 60 participants was recruited. The SVHC screening tool elicited significantly more concerns than the standard tool for distress screening in oncology, the Distress Thermometer and Problem List (DT/PL). Whereas only four women (7%) noted a concern about “sexuality/intimacy” on the DT/PL, 57% noted a sexual or vaginal health concern on the SVHC (p < 0.001). The most common concerns were loss of desire and vaginal dryness. Most women who reported sexual or vaginal health concerns wanted to have their concerns addressed, but preferred written information only. Most participants, providers, and staff were comfortable using the SVHC screening tool and thought it improved communication and follow up. Several themes emerged from participant feedback including that they believed sexual health was an important but under-addressed part of care and that they appreciated the frank and open dialogue that was facilitated by the SVHC screening tool. Providers agreed that the SVHC care pathway supported conversations that would not have otherwise happened and allowed women to take control of these discussions based on their own preferences. With further research in other settings, the SVHC care pathway may prove to be a useful tool for helping nurse practitioners and other providers better meet the sexual health needs of the growing number of women who are surviving cancer.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rouhana, Nicole
Commitee: Britton, Geraldine, Fronczek, Ann, Kellogg Spadt, Susan
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: Nursing
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 82/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sexuality, Oncology, Nursing, Womens studies
Keywords: Female cancer survivors, Rural oncology, Screening tool, Sexual distress
Publication Number: 27960544
ISBN: 9798662571280
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