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Identifying cancer patients with greater need for information about sexual issues

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


Purpose: The aim of the research was to identify cancer patients who may have a greater need about sexuality-related information. The study explored the association between sexuality-related information need and socio-demographic factors, cancer type, types of cancer treatment, experienced adverse effects on sexuality, and changes experienced in relationships. Methods and sample: This study used a survey design. Questionnaires were distributed and completed by 505 patients, with a diversity of cancer diagnoses, treated at a university hospital in Finland in 2009 and 2010. Information needs were rated using the international and well validated Information Needs Questionnaire (INQ). Sosiodemographic factors, cancer type, treatments, experienced adverse effects on sexuality and changed experienced in relationships were measured by using another questionnaire. Key results: Those patients with experiences of functional problems or other adverse effects on sexuality due to cancer or treatment found sexuality related information more important than those with no experiences of adverse effects on sexuality. Patients with experiences of weakened relationships due to cancer had greater information needs than those with experiences of strengthened relationships or no changes in relationships due to cancer. Conclusions: Cancer patients should be asked whether cancer or treatment has caused problems in their sexuality and possible relationships. Patients who experience problems in their sexuality or relationships should be provided an opportunity to discuss the issues. The whole oncology team have a role to play in patient sexuality guidance. The items on the INQ could be used as a reference tool for exploring patients' information needs.

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Cancer, Information needs, Oncology, Sexuality