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Jervaeus, A., Nilsson, J., Eriksson, L. E., Lampic, C., Widmark, 0.-0. & Wettergren, L. (2016). Exploring childhood cancer survivors' views about sex and sexual experiences -findings from online focus group discussions. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 20, 165-172
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring childhood cancer survivors' views about sex and sexual experiences -findings from online focus group discussions
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2016 (English)In: European Journal of Oncology Nursing, ISSN 1462-3889, E-ISSN 1532-2122, Vol. 20, p. 165-172Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: To explore childhood cancer survivors' views about sex and sexual experiences and, as an additional aim, their possible needs for care and support from health care professionals regarding sexual life. Methods: Written online focus group discussions were performed with survivors of childhood cancer, identified through the Swedish Childhood Cancer Registry; 133 (36%; aged 16-25) participated. Written text was analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: The analysis resulted in one main category: Could my cancer experience have an impact on my sexual life? with four generic categories: Sex considered to be good, Feeling insecure and falling behind, Relating sex to a stable relationship and Concerns related to the physical body. In general, participants had not reflected on the possibility that their cancer experience could impact on sexual life. Sex was often considered to be something natural, important and taken for granted. However, thoughts and worries were expressed including being shy, feeling insecure and falling behind peers. Physical concerns included vaginal dryness and difficulties related to erection and reaching orgasm. Many participants stated that sexual issues had not been discussed with health care professionals, however, the need for such support differed. Conclusions: Many of the childhood cancer survivors' did not relate their sexual experiences to previous cancer treatment. However, problems were expressed, both of emotional and physical nature. Many participants stated that they had not received any information or support regarding sexual issues from health care professionals, why it is recommended to be regularly addressed in follow-up care. © 2015.

Childhood cancer survivors, Content analysis, Online focus group discussions, Sexual life
National Category
Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-28731 (URN)10.1016/j.ejon.2015.07.009 (DOI)000368745800023 ()26251362 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84938613871 (Scopus ID)

Correspondence Address: Jervaeus, A.

Available from: 2015-08-21 Created: 2015-08-21 Last updated: 2019-06-25Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, J., Jervaeus, A., Lampic, C., Eriksson, L. E., Widmark, C., Armuand, G. M., . . . Wettergren, L. (2014). 'Will I be able to have a baby?': Results from online focus group discussions with childhood cancer survivors in Sweden.. Human Reproduction, 29(12), 2704-2711
Open this publication in new window or tab >>'Will I be able to have a baby?': Results from online focus group discussions with childhood cancer survivors in Sweden.
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2014 (English)In: Human Reproduction, ISSN 0268-1161, E-ISSN 1460-2350, Vol. 29, no 12, p. 2704-2711Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

STUDY QUESTION: What do adolescent and young adult survivors of childhood cancer think about the risk of being infertile?

SUMMARY ANSWER: The potential infertility, as well as the experience of having had cancer, affects well-being, intimate relationships and the desire to have children in the future.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Many childhood cancer survivors want to have children and worry about possible infertility.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: For this qualitative study with a cross-sectional design, data were collected through 39 online focus group discussions during 2013.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Cancer survivors previously treated for selected diagnoses were identified from The Swedish Childhood Cancer Register (16-24 years old at inclusion, ≥5 years after diagnosis) and approached regarding study participation. Online focus group discussions of mixed sex (n = 133) were performed on a chat platform in real time. Texts from the group discussions were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The analysis resulted in the main category Is it possible to have a baby? including five generic categories: Risk of infertility affects well-being, Dealing with possible infertility, Disclosure of possible infertility is a challenge, Issues related to heredity and Parenthood may be affected. The risk of infertility was described as having a negative impact on well-being and intimate relationships. Furthermore, the participants described hesitation about becoming a parent due to perceived or anticipated physical and psychological consequences of having had cancer.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Given the sensitive topic of the study, the response rate (36%) is considered acceptable. The sample included participants who varied with regard to received fertility-related information, current fertility status and concerns related to the risk of being infertile.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: The results may be transferred to similar contexts with other groups of patients of childbearing age and a risk of impaired fertility due to disease. The findings imply that achieving parenthood, whether or not with biological children, is an area that needs to be addressed by health care services.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS: The study was financially supported by The Cancer Research Foundations of Radiumhemmet, The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation and the Doctoral School in Health Care Science, Karolinska Institutet. The authors report no conflicts of interest.

National Category
Health Sciences
Research subject
Care Sciences
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-26584 (URN)10.1093/humrep/deu280 (DOI)000348352400014 ()25344069 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84929621956 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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