Research and Scholarship

Development, Implementation, and Patient Perspectives of the Women’s Integrative Sexual Health Program: A Program Designed to Address the Sexual Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Lori A. Seaborne, MPAS, PA-C, Megan Peterson, DNP, David M. Kushner, MD, Janelle Sobecki, MD, MA, and Joanne K. Rash, MPAS, PA-C

From University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, Wisconsin

Authors’ disclosures of conflicts of interest are found at the end of this article.

Correspondence to: Lori A. Seaborne, MPAS, PA-C, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, 600 Highland Ave G3/127, Madison, WI 53792. E-mail: seaborne@surgery.wisc.edu


J Adv Pract Oncol 2021;12(1):32–38 | https://doi.org/10.6004/jadpro.2021.12.1.3 | © 2021 Harborside™


  

ABSTRACT

Background: Advanced practitioners (APs) are a growing demographic in survivorship care. One goal of survivorship care is to manage consequences of cancer treatments. Sexual dysfunction from prior therapies can impact quality of life. Advanced practitioners are perfectly poised to provide care for sexual problems. This article will describe the development and implementation of the Women’s Integrative Sexual Health (WISH) program by APs within a comprehensive cancer center and describe patient perspectives of care provided. Methods: Two physician assistants working in gynecologic oncology at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center implemented a program to address sexual side effects of cancer treatment. An online survey was sent out to all patients seen in the WISH program since inception. Results: Between November 2013 and July 2019, 228 patients were seen in the WISH program. A total of 113 women responded (median age: 53 years, range: 31–77; 68% postmenopausal; response rate: 53.8%). Most had breast (57%) or gynecologic (32%) cancers. When asked how helpful the WISH program was, 88% reported that it was at least somewhat helpful. Almost all (95%) reported they would recommend the WISH program to other women. Conclusion: The WISH program enhances comprehensive survivorship care of female cancer survivors. Women report they benefit from care for sexual issues after cancer treatments. Advanced practitioners working in oncology are uniquely positioned to educate themselves, take leadership roles in the development and implementation of programs, and provide care to women affected by sexual side effects after cancer.


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