Jessica Gorman, PhD, MPH, Oregon State University


As many as two-thirds of women diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancers (BGC) during young adulthood, age 18-39 years, experience negative effects of cancer and cancer treatment on their reproductive and sexual health (RSH). The RSH consequences of cancer are among the most distressing aspects of survivorship for young adult BGC survivors and their partners. This distress is associated with worse depression and poorer quality of life. Effective partner communication and dyadic coping (i.e., coping as a couple) are critical for managing the RSH distress and maintaining relationship health and quality of life. However, young couples report significant challenges in communicating about and coping with the RSH consequences of cancer, leaving them at risk for poor outcomes. To reduce the burden of cancer, there is an urgent need to develop and test feasible, evidence-based strategies to help couples effectively manage their RSH distress and minimize the negative effects on quality of life.

Purpose of the Study

We are doing this research to test the helpfulness of two programs designed to teach breast and gynecologic cancer survivors and their partners ways to communicate and cope with physical, emotional, and relationship challenges after cancer. Couples (cancer survivor and their partner) will be randomly assigned to one of two skill-building programs, with 4-5 weekly sessions (1.5 hours each) that will be delivered to the couple by a trained counselor via Zoom.


What does participation involve?

  • All participants will be asked to complete 3 online surveys that are about 30 minutes each, one before the program and 2 afterward. Some participants will also be invited to participate in a qualitative interview after the program is over.
  • Patient is a cancer survivor diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 39
  • Patient age is between 18 – 44 years
  • Patient has a cancer diagnosis 6 months – 5 years prior to enrollment date
  • Patient diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancer (ovarian, cervical, uterine, vulvar, vaginal)
  • Cancer stage 1-4
  • Ability to participate in a 4-5 week program with their partner via Zoom
  • Has a committed partner who is willing to participate (any gender/sexual orientation)
  • English speaking
  • High speed internet access via a smart phone, tablet and/or computer


Inclusion criteria for partner participants

  • Age 18 or older
  • English speaking
  • Ability to participate in a 4-5 week program with their partner via Zoom.
  • High speed internet access via a smart phone, tablet and/or computer



U.S. / Virtual

How can I sign up for this study?

By completing informed consent online provided through the survey link.

Love Research Army

We combat the disparities that exist in research by challenging the scientific community to launch studies that are as inclusive and diverse as the people that breast cancer affects.

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