Discussing Sexuality with Cancer Patients: Oncology Nurses Attitudes and Views


Background: Sexual health and function frequently are overlooked by healthcare professionals despite being identified as an essential aspect of patient care. Patients with cancer have identified sexuality issues as being of equal importance to other quality-of-life issues.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the views and attitudes of oncology nurses caring for cancer patients regarding sexual counseling. Participants and
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted on the web site of the Turkish Oncology Nurses Association.With the participation of 87 nurses from oncology departments, the study determined that most nurses do not evaluate and counsel patients regarding their sexual problems and many difficulties prevent them from focussing on sexual health. The most important reasons for ignoring sexual counseling were the absence of routine regarding sexual counseling in oncology departments, the belief that the patient may become ashamed and the nurses’ self-evaluation that they have insufficient skills and education to counsel in this subject.
Conclusions:The most important variables in sexual evaluation and counseling are long years of service in the profession and a postgraduate degree.