How a diagnosis of gynaecological cancer affects women’s sexuality
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How a diagnosis of gynaecological cancer affects women’s sexuality

Vicki Cleary Fertility nurse, Cork Fertility Centre, Ireland
Josephine Hegarty Professor and director of undergraduate education, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland
Geraldine McCarthy Professor Emeritus, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland

Vicki Cleary and colleagues explore patients’ perceptions of themselves and their sexual relationships after diagnosis and treatment, noting in particular their comments about their information needs

Aim To explore the impact of gynaecological cancer on sexuality from the patient’s perspective.

Method A qualitative descriptive design was used. Eight participants were interviewed. Data were analysed using manifest content analysis.

Findings Participants reported distressing alterations in all aspects of their sexuality after diagnosis and treatment. Importantly, they underlined the need for healthcare professionals to provide verbal and written information and support relating to sexual matters. They proposed that this information would be most appropriate if provided during the treatment period and not immediately at diagnosis.

Conclusion The study findings are being used to aid the development of an educational intervention centred on the sexuality of women with gynaecological cancer.

Cancer Nursing Practice. 12, 1,32-37. doi: 10.7748/cnp2013.02.12.1.32.e648

Correspondence

v.cleary@ucc.ie

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 23 May 2012

Accepted: 12 December 2012