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A study investigating professional attitudes and confidence in providing sexuality information to prostate cancer patients

  • D. Griffiths (a1) and D.A. Hodgson (a2)

Abstract

Purpose: Sexual dysfunction is a well-documented side effect of radical radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer and the provision of information to patients is often a radiotherapist and assistant role. The study sought to measure the attitudes and beliefs of individuals before and after an educational intervention and establish current practice in providing sexual information.

Method: A quantitative approach with a minor qualitative element was used. A simple pre–post test questionnaire design using an adapted version of the Reynold and Magnan (2005) Sexual Attitudes and Beliefs’ Questionnaire was utilised. The educational intervention was a Reflective Learning Package (RLP).

Results: Fifty-six participants took part, a response rate of 87.5%. The data was analysed using SPSS, version 15. The RLP had a highly significant effect on improving the attitudes and beliefs of the participants (Wilcoxon test 0.000 p < 0.001). Qualitative data key themes showed lack of knowledge, confidence and embarrassment were the main barriers to giving sexuality information during the ‘first day chat’.

Conclusion: There may be a need to address the current methods of education and support of staff being prepared to perform this important role and to recognise that personal limitations may influence the individuals’ effectiveness in communicating sexuality information.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: D. Griffiths, Radiotherapy Department, University Hospital Bristol, Horfield Road, Bristol, BS2 8ED, UK. E-mail: Dorothy.griffiths@uhbristol.nhs.uk

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