A Systematic Review of Interventions for Sexual Well-Being in Women With Gynecologic, Anal, or Rectal Cancer

Elizabeth K. Arthur

Celia E. Wills

Usha Menon

sexual well-being, sexual function, intervention, gynecologic cancer, anal cancer, rectal cancer
ONF 2018, 45(4), 469-482. DOI: 10.1188/18.ONF.469-482

Problem Identification: Treatments for cancer in the lower pelvis often cause lasting effects on women’s sexual well-being. The purpose of this review is to describe interventions to improve sexual well-being in gynecologic, anal, or rectal cancer survivors.

Literature Search: This review follows the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) 2009 checklist and guidelines. A literature search was conducted using PubMed, CINAHL®, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library.

Data Evaluation: Articles were original intervention research studies of women treated for gynecologic, anal, or rectal cancer and included sexual well-being outcomes. Study characteristics were extracted and compared in a table for analysis and synthesis.

Synthesis: Of the 16 included studies, 1 focused on genitourinary rehabilitation, 12 focused on psychoeducational interventions, and 3 focused on combination interventions. Most interventions reported at least one positive sexual well-being outcome. Intervention format, delivery, dose, and outcome variables varied widely.

Implications for Research: Preliminary efficacy and feasibility of interventions are promising, but larger studies designed to discern optimal content, delivery format, dose, and timing are needed.

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