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Sexual Health Survey

Posted 4/24/2014

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  I am delighted to write about an opportunity to make a difference in our understanding of sexual health challenges for women after breast cancer treatment. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I hae frequently written about this topic, and that there really is little helpful information to share. We know that the physical and psychological blows and changes associated with breast cancer are never sexual enhancements, and we know that many women, many couples, struggle to regain a satisfying and loving intimate relationship.

  I just learned of this study being conducted by Mollie Rose Canoza, a PhD candidate in Health Communications at George Mason University in Virginia. Here is her information sheet about it, and the link to participate. Please consider doing so.

Announcing the Sexual Heath in Breast Cancer Survivorship Project

Breast Cancer and its treatments can cause physical, psychological, and relational sexual health changes during survivorship. After treatment women may experience pain during intercourse, difficulty reaching orgasm, diminished sexual interest, fatigue, body image problems, depression, anxiety, as well as relationship distress stemming from challenges communicating about complex and emotionally charged topics. These are important concerns for women of all ages that can remain well into survivorship. According the National Research Council, over 50% of breast cancer survivors report decreased sexual well-being. Further, research suggests these problems may not resolve within a year or two of treatment. For some women they linger up to 10 years post-treatment (and potentially longer).

Sexuality is a sensitive topic that is sometimes overlooked in the delivery of medical care. In recent studies many medical providers report they seldom talk with their patients about the full implications of sexual health in survivorship. Some physicians say they are uncomfortable talking about sexual health issues and others suggest they are unaware that sexuality is a significant concern for survivors. As a result, survivors can feel isolated and often suffer in silence. We need to ensure providers understand sexual health and get them talking! When medical providers engage the issue of sexuality it helps survivors understand the symptoms and feelings they’re experiencing, locate resources, talk with their partners/spouses, and improve their quality of life. The problem is, few medical educational trainings have been developed that prioritize sexual health.

Who: My name is Mollie Rose Canzona. I'm a PhD candidate in health communication at George Mason University. I'm conducting this research to learn how we can improve this crucial aspect of breast cancer survivorship care. If you are a breast cancer survivor age 18 or older who has completed primary treatment (chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery) we invite you to participate in the Sexual Heath in Breast Cancer Survivorship Project.

What: This project aims to gain a comprehensive view of survivors’ sexual health challenges. If you participate, your insights will be used to design, conduct, and evaluate trainings for medical providers and to create therapeutic materials for women coping with sexual health issues.

What do I need to do? We would like you to take an online survey. Participants who complete the survey will be entered into four drawings for $20 Visa gift cards. Please know that every effort is being made to protect your privacy and confidentiality. The first page of the survey details how we will secure your information.

How many people are you looking for?
Our goal is to recruit 200 breast cancer survivors to complete the survey by May 9th. Please share this website with anyone you know who may be interested in participating.

Is there anything else I can do to help?
Yes! When you complete the survey you will be invited to participate in the interview phase of this project.

To find out more about the project and to take the survey please visit bcsurvivor-sexualhealth.com. If you have any questions or just want to talk about the project before you get started please feel free to contact me at mcanzona@gmu.edu or 336.414.8989. Thank you for your time and consideration!

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