Dr. Jennifer Reese, Clinical Psychologist. Fox Chase Cancer Center
The survival rate after a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is steadily increasing such that one-third of women currently living with this diagnosis have lived for five years or more. Up to 77% of women with MBC report reduced sexual quality of life (QOL), defined as sexual adjustment across physical, emotional/motivational, and interpersonal domains. Sexual concerns such as vaginal dryness, reduced sexual interest, and loss of sexual activities can impede a woman’s ability to experience intimacy with her partner at a time when such support may be most needed. By contrast, addressing women’s sexual concerns might have benefits not only for women’s own QOL but also for their intimate relationships in the context of a life-limiting illness. Sexual concerns do not tend to abate on their own over time, indicating that interventions are needed. Indeed, although women with MBC report wanting to maintain physical intimacy in their relationships, and would like support in coping with sexual concerns, they have been excluded from trials of sexual QOL interventions.
What does participation involve?
- All participants will be asked to complete a consent form and 3 study surveys over the course of 6 months
- Patient is female
- Patient age > 18 years
- Patient has a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer (Stage IV)
- The patient has a partner or spouse who is > 18
- The patient lives with a romantic partner (same or opposite sex) > 6 months*
- A score of at least 3 out of 10 on the Patient Care Monitor Sexual Concerns screening item, indicating that the patient has at least some degree of sexual concerns
- The patient or partner is not able to speak and read English
- Patient or partner ECOG Performance score > 2 OR medically unable to participate as judged by physician/in medical record or by self-report
- Patient or partner has a hearing impairment
- Patient and partner do not have reliable telephone access
- Patient has overt cognitive dysfunction or psychiatric disturbance such as suicidal ideation or severe mental illness, as observed or judged by the researcher, physician or referring source, or self-report
- Patient past or current history of any cancer other than non-melanoma skin cancer or breast cancer
- Patient is currently participating in couple/marital therapy
- Patient is currently pregnant
U.S. only in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
How can I sign up for this study?
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