Understanding Psychosocial and Sexual Health Concerns Among Women With Bladder Cancer Undergoing Radical Cystectomy

Natasha Gupta, Sarah E.Van Pilsum Rasmussen, Nora Haney, Armine Smith, Phillip M. Pierorazio, Michael H. Johnson, Jean Hoffman-Censits, Trinity J. Bivalacqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To better understand the physical and psychosocial components of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) among women undergoing radical cystectomy (RC) for bladder cancer (BCa). Methods: We conducted semistructured individual interviews and a focus group with pre- and post-RC female patients and their partners regarding the impact of RC on sexual health and psychosocial wellbeing. Themes were inductively identified by 2 independent coders and subsequently organized into themes and subthemes using qualitative description and constant comparison. Results: In the preoperative cohort, 6 women and 1 partner participated (50% contact rate, 75% participation rate). In the postoperative cohort, 16 women and 2 partners participated (61% contact rate, 64% participation rate). Major themes that emerged in interviews with both cohorts included concerns about changes to body image, the psychological impact of BCa diagnosis and treatment, concerns about the impact of RC on sexual function, and inadequacies in provider-led sexual health counseling. Participants varied in the importance they placed on sexual function, with factors such as age, relationship status, and oncologic concerns impacting prioritization, although both younger and older patients expressed a desire to retain the option of sexual function. Conclusion: Female patients with BCa undergoing RC experience changes in body image, psychological distress, physical disruptions in sexual function, and inadequacies in sexual health counseling and education. Future efforts should be directed towards improving sexual health counseling and psychosocial support resources for women with BCa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
StatePublished - May 2021


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