Health-care professionals’ perspective on discussing sexual issues in adult patients after haematopoietic cell transplantation

Corien M. Eeltink*, Birgit I. Witte, Jacqui Stringer, Sarah Liptrott, Aleksandra Babic, Diana M. Greenfield, Nina Salooja, Luca Incrocci, Otto Visser, Irma M. Verdonck-de Leeuw, Rafael F. Duarte, Sonja Zweegman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The majority of adult patients have sexual concerns after post-haematopoietic cell transplantation. Even so, health-care professionals (HCP) do not routinely discuss these problems. We, therefore, surveyed all the members of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation to evaluate the barriers and facilitators to discussing sexual issues. The 73-item web-survey was completed by 166 registered nurses (RNs) and 126 medical doctors (MDs). Sixty-eight percent reported that they seldom discussed sexual issues. Younger MDs (p < 0.001) and those who work in non-western European countries (p = 0.003), RNs with probably less sexual education themselves (p = 0.002), MDs and RNs who have limited knowledge about sexual complications (p < 0.001) and MDs and RNs who feel uncomfortable discussing sexual issues (p < 0.001) are all less likely to discuss these matters. The major perceived barriers were that patients might be embarrassed if sexual issues were discussed in the presence of a relative (60% RNs, 67% MDs) and that professionals prefer patients to raise sexual issues themselves (54% RNs, 44% MDs). The most important perceived facilitator was for the patient to initiate discussion (≥ 90% for RNs and MDs). Overall, haematopoietic cell transplantation survivors may not be receiving the support on sexual issues they probably need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalBone Marrow Transplantation
Issue number3
Early online dateDec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

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