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Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative
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David Kissane, Barry Bultz, Phyllis Butow, and Ilora Finlay

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199238361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.001.0001

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Communicating about sexuality in cancer care

Communicating about sexuality in cancer care

Chapter:
(p.409) Chapter 35 Communicating about sexuality in cancer care
Source:
Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care
Author(s):

John W Robinson

Joshua J Lounsberry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.003.0035

Extensive research has shown that cancer, and the treatment thereof, can interfere with healthy sexual functioning. Indeed, sexual dysfunction is frequently cited as one of the top adverse effects of cancer treatment. However, while healthcare professionals routinely discuss quality-of-life issues with cancer patients, the literature suggest that too often this does not include an assessment of sexual concerns. The responsibility to initiate discussion on sexuality rests with the healthcare professional. Establishing the sexuality information needs of the cancer patient can sometimes be difficult and it becomes more so when healthcare professionals make erroneous assumptions concerning sexuality. Whether or not to assess sexuality is no longer an issue; it must be a routine part of cancer care. While there are several different models of intervention for patients suffering from sexual difficulties, the PLISSIT model is frequently used in cancer centres and can easily be adapted to various types of practice. The model describes four progressive levels that can be used to guide assessment and intervention: permission, limited information, specific suggestions, and intensive therapy.

Keywords:   PLISSIT model, cancer care, cancer patients, sexuality, healthcare professionals, sexual difficulties, permission, limited information, intensive therapy

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