A brief intervention to enhance breast cancer clinicians' communication about sexual health: Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes

Jennifer Barsky Reese, Stephen J. Lepore, Mary B. Daly, Elizabeth Handorf, Kristen A. Sorice, Laura S. Porter, James A. Tulsky, Mary Catherine Beach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Sexual concerns are often unaddressed for breast cancer patients; one reason is inadequate clinician training. We examined the feasibility, acceptability, and potential benefits of a novel intervention, improving Sexual Health and Augmenting Relationships through Education (iSHARE) for breast cancer clinicians. Methods: Clinicians received training in communicating about sexual concerns with breast cancer patients. Intervention feasibility and acceptability were measured through enrollment/participation and postintervention program evaluations, respectively. Intervention effects were assessed through (1) clinician self-reported beliefs about sexual health communication, assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and 1- or 6-month follow-up, (2) clinical communication coded from audio recorded, transcribed clinic encounters at preintervention or postintervention, and (3) patient satisfaction with clinical care, reported immediately after the clinic visit. Patients also reported sociodemographic characteristics and level of sexual concerns. Results: Seven breast cancer clinicians enrolled (88% participation), completed the intervention, and were audio recorded in clinic encounters with 134 breast cancer outpatients (67 each at preintervention or postintervention). Program evaluations supported intervention acceptability. Effect sizes suggest iSHARE increased clinicians' self-efficacy (d = 0.27) and outcome expectancies for communicating about sexual concerns (d = 0.69) and reduced communication barriers (d = −0.14). Clinicians' sexual health communication behaviors increased from baseline to postintervention, including for raising the topic (28% vs 48%), asking questions (33% vs 45%), and offering information (18% vs 24%). Neither patient satisfaction nor duration of sexual health communication changed (mean duration less than 1 minute at both time points). Conclusions: The iSHARE intervention was feasible and well received by clinicians and may change breast cancer clinicians' beliefs and communication behaviors regarding sexual health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)872-879
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • breast neoplasms
  • cancer
  • communication
  • oncology
  • reproductive health
  • sexual behavior
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'A brief intervention to enhance breast cancer clinicians' communication about sexual health: Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this