The point of no return: Beyond sexual functioning to sexual health assessment in oncology nursing

Lorna Butler


Disseminating research findings in a meaningful way is often a challenge. The topic of sexual health creates an even greater challenge. The work that numerous teams conducted within our research department had profound effects that altered the way in which we were practising cancer care. The Schering Lectureship provided the forum for our patients’ collective voices to be heard. Artists in the world of music who crossed the spectrum from classical to country helped us to focus. The sexual health message was entwined in their words. That message became a personal interpretation we had not been able to convey with words alone. Through the songs, each nurse found his/her own meaning. To our surprise, this lectureship became a powerful medium for patients to speak out and nurses to learn. The nurses conducting the sexual health studies thank CANO and Schering Canada. To each oncology nurse who spoke about the message heard, please know that your words touched our hearts. While it has been a challenge to put this lectureship into a manuscript, it is hoped the written words will convey a similar message.

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Butler, L., Banfield, V., Sveinson, T., Allen, K. (1998).

Conceptualizing sexual health in cancer care. Western Journal of

Nursing Research, 20(6), 683-699.

Chamberlain Wilmoth, M., Allard Ross, J. (1997). Women’s

perception: Breast cancer treatment and sexuality. Cancer

Practice, 5(6), 353-359.


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