Merck Lectureship Sex talk and cancer: Who is asking?

Deborah L. McLeod, Joan Hamilton


Estimates of sexual health problems after cancer treatment range from 40% to 100% across cancers, with almost half of cancer survivors reporting problems with sexual functioning. While many side effects of cancer treatment gradually resolve within the first year or two, many sexual health issues do not. These problems can remain severe and constant and can even become worse over time causing considerable distress. Although sexual health issues are common, they are not addressed often enough in cancer settings. There are a variety of barriers to addressing sexual health concerns. In this lecture, we discuss those challenges and offer some possible approaches nurses could use to improve sexual health care, including the BATHE and the PLISSIT models. Case examples highlighting the models are included.

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