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Patient–provider communication about sexuality and intimacy after a cancer diagnosis was described in terms of unmet needs and mismatched expectations

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 Q What are the perceptions of patients and healthcare providers regarding communicating about sexuality and intimacy after a cancer diagnosis?

DESIGN

Reflexive inquiry.

SETTING

Cancer and palliative care settings in a large public teaching hospital in Victoria, Australia.

PARTICIPANTS

50 patients (22–85 y of age) who were receiving treatment for cancer and 32 healthcare professionals who had been working in cancer or palliative care settings for ⩾12 months.

METHODS

Patients and healthcare providers participated in individual semistructured interviews of about 45 minutes. Topics included experiences of communicating about patient sexuality, unmet needs, and factors that helped or hindered communication. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Interview data were analysed alongside a textual analysis of 33 cancer and palliative care clinical practice guidelines. Validation was provided through presentation of preliminary interview data at 15 educational forums attended by patients and providers.

MAIN FINDINGS

2 major themes were identified: unmet needs of patients and mismatched expectations in the communication process …

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