Female sexual health after a cancer diagnosis
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Female sexual health after a cancer diagnosis

Lynn Holmes Gynae-oncology clinical nurse specialist (CNS), Castle Hill Hospital, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Tracie Miles Gynae-oncology CNS, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
Isabel White Clinical research fellow in psychosexual practice, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Lynn Holmes and colleagues offer a competency framework to help nurses address psychosexual problems in patients with gynaecological cancers

Sexual problems are common after any cancer treatment, but particularly for gynaecological cancers. Sexuality is often a missed component of holistic assessment and continuing care after a cancer diagnosis.

Sexual difficulties can have a negative effect on quality of life and patients are often not prepared for possible changes, nor do they receive appropriate support to manage problems.

One reason for this is nurses’ or other healthcare professionals’ lack of confidence and knowledge to approach the subject. The National Forum of Gynaecological Oncology Nurses recognised the need to develop a competency framework to support healthcare workers to address the needs of women with psychosexual issues after diagnosis and treatment of gynaecological cancer.

This article offers an overview of the competencies and a framework of the knowledge, skills and experience needed to achieve them. Although it is aimed at gynae-oncology nurses, the principles can be transferred to any healthcare professional in any specialty.

Cancer Nursing Practice. 14, 7,16-22. doi: 10.7748/cnp.14.7.16.e1206

Correspondence

lynn.holmes@hey.nhs.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 25 March 2015

Accepted: 29 June 2015