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Reese JB, Lepore SJ, Daly MB, Handorf E, Sorice KA, Porter LS, Tulsky JA, Beach MC
A Brief Intervention to Enhance Breast Cancer Clinicians' Communication about Sexual Health: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Outcomes
Psychooncology (2019) 28:872-879.
OBJECTIVE: Sexual concerns are often unaddressed for breast cancer patients; one reason is inadequate clinician training. We examined the feasibility, acceptability, and potential benefits of a novel intervention, iSHARE (improving Sexual Health and Augmenting Relationships through Education), for breast cancer clinicians. METHODS: Clinicians received training in communicating about sexual concerns with breast cancer patients. Intervention feasibility and acceptability were measured through enrollment/participation and post-intervention program evaluations, respectively. Intervention effects were assessed through (1) clinician self-reported beliefs about sexual health communication, assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and 1-/6-month follow-up, (2) clinical communication coded from audio recorded, transcribed clinic encounters at pre-/post-intervention, and (3) patient satisfaction with clinical care, reported immediately after the clinic visit. Patients also reported socio-demographic characteristics and level of sexual concerns. RESULTS: Seven breast cancer clinicians enrolled (88% participation), completed the intervention, and were audio recorded in clinic encounters with 134 breast cancer outpatients (67 each at pre-/post-intervention). Program evaluations supported intervention acceptability. Effect sizes suggest iSHARE increased clinicians' self-efficacy (d=.27) and outcome expectancies for communicating about sexual concerns (d=.69) and reduced communication barriers (d=-.14). Clinician's sexual health communication behaviors increased from baseline to post-intervention, including for raising the topic (28% vs. 48%), asking questions (33% vs. 45%), and offering information (18 vs. 24%). Neither patient satisfaction nor duration of sexual health communication changed (mean duration < 1 minute at both time points). CONCLUSIONS: The iSHARE intervention was feasible and well-received by clinicians, and may change breast cancer clinicians' beliefs and communication behaviors regarding sexual health.
Publication Date: 2019-02-27.
PMCID: PMC6445732
Last updated on Friday, July 10, 2020