Experiences of sexual well-being interventions in males affected by genitourinary cancers and their partners: an integrative systematic review

Kathryn Schubach, Theo Niyonsenga, Murray R. Turner, Catherine Paterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Sexual well-being has been identified as an unmet supportive care need among many individuals with genitourinary (GU) cancers. Little is known about the experiences of using sexual well-being interventions among men and their partners.

This review was reported using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and followed a systematic review protocol. Data extraction and methodological quality appraisal were performed, and a narrative synthesis was conducted.

A total of 21 publications (reporting on 18 studies) were included: six randomised control trials, seven cross-sectional studies, three qualitative studies, and five mixed methods studies. Sexual well-being interventions comprised medical/pharmacological and psychological support, including counselling and group discussion facilitation. The interventions were delivered using various modes: face-to-face, web-based/online, or telephone. Several themes emerged and included broadly: (1) communication with patient/partner and healthcare professionals, (2) educational and informational needs, and (3) timing and/or delivery of the interventions.

Sexual well-being concerns for men and their partners were evident from diagnosis and into survivorship. Participants benefited from interventions but many articulated difficulties with initiating the topic due to embarrassment and limited access to interventions in cancer services. Noteworthy, all studies were only representative of men diagnosed with prostate cancer, underscoring a significant gap in other GU cancer patient groups where sexual dysfunction is a prominent consequence of treatment.

Implications for cancer survivors
This systematic review provides valuable new insights to inform future models of sexual well-being recovery interventions for patients and partners with prostate cancer, but further research is urgently needed in other GU cancer populations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number265
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2023


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