Patient-Reported Barriers to Discussing Sexual Concerns With Health-Care Providers
Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Analysis of barriers to discussing sexual concerns with health-care providers revealed self-centered barriers as the biggest obstacle for women with a previous diagnosis of breast cancer. According to Jennifer B. Reese, PhD, of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, and colleagues, addressing these barriers may stimulate the development of programs aimed at helping women feel more comfortable discussing their sexual concerns with health-care providers. These findings were published in Psycho-Oncology.
“Overall, women tended to view their own discomfort in discussing sexual concerns as the bigger barrier to discussing these issues with their providers than discomfort they attributed to their breast cancer providers,” explained coauthor Lauren ZImmaro, PhD, also of Fox Chase.
A total of 144 patients with a previous diagnosis of breast cancer were enrolled in the study. The median patient age was 56 years, and 67% of patients were White. Patients were recruited from the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Dr. Reese and colleagues administered questionnaires to assess the barriers women felt prevented them from feeling comfortable discussing their sexual concerns with health-care professionals.
Patients reported self-centered barriers and provider-centered barriers as the two major factors that decreased their comfort discussing sexual concerns with health-care providers. A total of 13% of women reported high self-centered and high provider-centered barriers; 66% of women reported high self-centered and low provider-centered barriers; and 21% of women reported low self-centered and low provider-centered barriers. Additionally, women who reported more barriers experienced poorer sexual communication and general clinical self-efficacy.
“Now that we have a clearer understanding of the types of barriers preventing women from raising the topic of sexual issues with their providers, we can work toward addressing them,” Dr. Zimmaro concluded.
Disclosure: For full disclosures of the authors, visit wiley.com.