A nurse-led sexual rehabilitation intervention after radiotherapy for gynecological cancerReport as inadecuate

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Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 729–737

First Online: 27 October 2016Received: 03 June 2016Accepted: 10 October 2016DOI: 10.1007-s00520-016-3453-2

Cite this article as: Bakker, R.M., Mens, J.W.M., de Groot, H.E. et al. Support Care Cancer 2017 25: 729. doi:10.1007-s00520-016-3453-2


PurposeAlthough vaginal dilator use after combined pelvic radiation therapy and brachytherapy RT-BT is recommended to prevent vaginal shortening and stenosis, women fail to use them and experience sexual problems. A nurse-led sexual rehabilitation intervention targeting sexual recovery and vaginal dilatation was developed. Its feasibility was investigated during a prospective, longitudinal, observational pilot study.

MethodsFour oncology nurses were specifically trained to conduct the intervention. Gynecologic cancer patients treated with RT-BT were assessed using i questionnaires on frequency of dilator use monthly, sexual functioning, and sexual distress at baseline and 1, 6, and 12 months and psychological and relational distress at 1, 6, and 12 months; ii semi-structured interviews between 6 and 12 months; and iii consultation recordings a random selection of 21 % of all consults.

ResultsTwenty participants were 26–71 years old mean = 40. Eight participants discontinued participation after 3 to 9 months. At 6 months after RT, 14 out of 16 88 %, and at 12 months 9 out of 12 75 %, participants dilated regularly, either by having sexual intercourse or by using dilators. Sexual functioning improved between 1 and 6 months after RT, with further improvement at 12 months. Most participants reported that the intervention was helpful and the nurses reported having sufficient expertise and counseling skills.

ConclusionsAccording to the pilot results, the intervention was feasible and promising for sexual rehabilitation and regular dilator use after RT. Its cost-effectiveness will be investigated in a randomized controlled trial.

KeywordsGynecological cancer Pelvic radiation therapy and brachytherapy Sexual rehabilitation Dilator use compliance Nurse-led intervention Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s00520-016-3453-2 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: R. M. Bakker - J. W. M. Mens - H. E. de Groot - C. C. Tuijnman-Raasveld - C. Braat - W. C. P. Hompus - J. G. M. P

Source: https://link.springer.com/


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