Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Project Title

The Impact of Advanced Cancer on Sexuality

Project Summary

This project has just been completed and involved two main studies. The first study was entitled “A Qualitative Study to Assess the Impact of Advanced Cancer on the Sexuality of Patients”. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of advanced cancer on patients' sexuality and the coping strategies adopted. All patients were receiving specialist palliative care. The aim was to assess the impact on patients’ sexuality incorporating body image, self esteem, emotional and physical relationship issues. By determining the difficulties arising and the associated coping strategies, the study aimed to increase awareness of the issues identified and aid in the development of appropriate interventions.

Methodologically, patient interviews involved a combination of an interview guide approach and a standardized open ended approach.  The interviews were recorded using a digital recorder (Edrinol 9) and transferred to a computer and then transcribed verbatim using voice recognition software (Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred 9) and then re-assessed manually. Interviews were anonymised. Data from the transcribed interviews were processed using a Nud*ist N6 software package. Data were coded using the software package. An in-depth analysis of the categories and content analysis was preformed. Content analysis occurred with the identification of codes and categories. Data were analyzed using the 'Pre-structured Case' method.

The second study was entitled “A Qualitative Study to Assess the Impact of Advanced Cancer on the Sexuality of the Partners of Patients”. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of advanced cancer on patients' partners’ sexuality and the coping strategies adopted. All participants were partners of patients receiving specialist palliative care either in the in-patient unit, day hospice, homecare or acute hospital. The assessment of impact incorporated an evaluation of body image, self esteem, emotional and physical relationship issues. The aim of identifying difficulties in relation to these areas and to coping strategies was to increase the healthcare professional’s awareness of such issues and aid in the development of appropriate interventions. The methods used were similar to those described for the study on patients.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Miriam Colleran,
Consultant in Palliative Medicine,
St. Brigid’s Hospice,
Drogheda Memorial Hospital,
The Curragh,
Co. Kildare,
Naas General Hospital and Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross.
Phone: (045) 4457545. 
Email: miriam.colleran@hse.ie

Academic Supervisors

Dr. Liam O’ Síoráin,
Consultant in Palliative Medicine,
Our Lady’s Hospice,
Harold’s Cross and St. James’s Hospital.
Phone: + 353 (0)1 406 8700
Email: losiorain@olh.ie

Professor Ken O’Byrne,
Consultant in Medical Oncology,
St. James’s Hospital.
Phone: +353 (0)1 410 3545
Email: kobyrne@stjames.ie

Onja van Doorslaer MSc
Freelance Qualitative Researcher
Dublin
Phone: +353 (0)87 298 1383
Email: onja@eircom.net 


Last updated 6 May 2009 by Palliative Care (Email).