The Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer
Letter from the Chair
Thank you for being a part of our community of scientists, clinicians, activists, and patients who are interested in advancing the sexual health of women and girls with cancer! We have some exciting news to report in this letter, including hot-off-the-press information on the 2018 Conference. Please stay involved in the goings on of the Network, and let us know if you have news to add to our future newsletters!
2018 Conference Summary
We are excited to announce that the 2018 Conference for the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer will he held on September 27-28, 2018 at Duke University within the Duke Cancer Institute. We are grateful to our Duke colleagues, Kelly Westbrook and Kevin Weinfurt, who have been coordinating these efforts. Keep an eye on the Network website’s meeting page where additional information will be posted as it becomes available.
Conference Calendar
Other Noteworthy Conferences
Many of our members regularly attend conferences of other organizations. Here are some other upcoming conferences for you to consider:

February 2018
International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) Annual Meeting 2018, February 8-11, 2018, Hilton San Diego on Mission Bay, San Diego, CA

  • Conference Spotlight: Keep an eye out for the Sexual Health Research and Interventions for the Cancer Patient symposium being given by Network members, and Jeanne Carter’s talk representing the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer!

ASCO Cancer Survivorship Symposium: Advancing Care and Research, February 16-17, 2018, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Orlando, FL

April 2018
Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) 2018 Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions, April 11-14, 2018, New Orleans Riverside Hilton, New Orleans, LA

  • Conference Spotlight: Keep an eye out for the symposium, Female Sexual Health and Cancer: New Frontiers in Behavioral Research, which will feature several Network Steering Committee members – Jenny Reese, Sharon Bober, and Kristen Carpenter, as well as others who will be sharing new data from intervention studies addressing sexual health across a range of cancer populations.

Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) 2018 Annual Meeting, April 19-22, 2018, Westin Hotel, Philadelphia, PA


The Scientific Network now has a presence on social media! Follow us on Twitter or send us a tweet! Our account is under the name "Scientific Network" and the handle is @cancersexnet.
New Website Resource - Bulletin Board
The new Bulletin Board has been created, and we are working on content. The Bulletin Board will be the place to find information about CME opportunities, grants/awards available to apply for, and Network collaboration opportunities. If you have content to add, please email it to the Network at
Getting the Word out about Female Sexual Health
Editorial in the Journal Cancer
Two of the Network’s Steering Committee members, Jenny Reese and Sharon Bober, have published a commentary in Cancer which asks the question on many of our minds about discussing women’s sexual health after cancer: why is it so hard to move the needle? View the article at

New ASCO Guidelines on Interventions Addressing Sexual Problems in People with Cancer
Some of our Network members (Jeanne Carter, Sage Bolte, Shari Damast, Judith Florendo, Shari Goldfarb, and David Kushner) participated on the ASCO panel for the New ASCO Guideline on Interventions to Address Sexual Problems in People with Cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Adaptation of Cancer Care Ontario Guideline. The objective was to adapt the Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) guideline, Interventions to Address Sexual Problems in People with Cancer. The adaptation provides recommendations on strategies and interventions to manage sexual function side effects as a result of cancer diagnosis and/or treatment with the aim of decreasing distress, symptoms and improving quality of life for cancer survivors and their partners. Published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Additional information is available at and
News from Network Writing Groups
Radiation Therapy Dilator Survey
The Dilator Use Survey and Vignettes (Radiation Therapy Dilator Survey) project is moving forward. A pilot survey was developed by Shari Damast with input from the rest of the writing group (Anuja Jhingran, Christina Son, Yamin Hasan, Carol Kuhle, and Diana Jeffery) and has thus far been piloted with approximately 25 clinicians working in radiation oncology. The data are currently being analyzed.

Thinking about joining or starting a writing group?
Want to help advance the field by contributing to a writing group? You can join an existing one or start your own! Email Diana Jeffery, who has been coordinating the Network writing groups, at Current writing group topics include: Dilator use summary and survey; health behaviors and sexual function among female cancer patients; impact of non-chemotherapeutic medications on sexual function; communication about sexual health and cancer; self-help for sexual problems; sexual function in rare cancers; partners’ perspectives; sexual function in cancer and co-morbid conditions; and professional training and education on sexual health.
We Need your Help to Grow the Network
We want to continue to grow the Network and we need your help to do it! We are looking for enthusiastic members to join our Membership Committee. Please let us know if you are interested in learning more about this opportunity. This is a great way to connect with current members and meet new likeminded colleagues while contributing to the Network’s efforts! Email if you would like to find out more.
Welcome New Members!
  • Daniela Buscariollo, MD, Boston, MA (Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute)
  • Mario Federico, MD, PhD, Canarias, Spain (Gran Canaria University Hospital)
  • Maja Luke, APN, Chicago, IL (Creticos Caner Center at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center)
  • Megan Peterson, WHNP-C (University of Wisconsin)
  • Joanne Rash, MPAS, PA-C (University of Wisconsin)
  • Katina Robison, MD, Providence, RI (Womens and Infants/Brown University)
  • Leslie Shover, PhD, Houston, TX (Will2Love)
Spotlight on Research
Feasibility of a Self-help Web-based Intervention Targeting Young Cancer Patients with Sexual Problems and Fertility Distress
We were excited to see this paper come out in the December issue of Supportive Care in Cancer, with one of our international members, Dr. Lena Wettergren, as the senior author (shared equally with Claudia Lampic). The intervention tested in this feasibility study showed promise, and we look forward to seeing the data from the planned larger randomized controlled trial in adolescents and young adults with cancer.

Title: Feasibility of a self-help web-based intervention targeting young cancer patients with sexual problems and fertility distress

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to evaluate the feasibility of a self-help web-based intervention to alleviate sexual problems and fertility distress in adolescents and young adults with cancer.

Methods: Twenty-three persons with cancer (19 women and 4 men, age 18–43, 1–5 years post-diagnosis of lymphoma, breast, gynecologic, central nervous system, or testicular cancer) were recruited to test a 2-month web-based program targeting sexual problems or fertility distress. The programs were organized in modules with educational and behavior change content, including texts, illustrations, exercises, and video vignettes. The program also included a discussion forum and an “ask the expert” forum. In addition, the sexuality program offered two telephone consultations. Feasibility (regarding demand, acceptability, preliminary efficacy, and functionality) was evaluated with the website system data, telephone interviews, continuous online evaluations, and study-specific measures.

Results: Fifteen participants completed four modules or more. Most of the program features were used and well accepted by these “committed users.” The web-based format enabled flexible use by participants with diverse needs. Preliminary efficacy was indicated by self-reported increased knowledge and skill in handling sexual problems and fertility distress. The website was easy to use and functioned well technically.

Conclusions: The present study indicated that this web-based intervention was feasible for adolescents and young adults with cancer. The effectiveness of the intervention in decreasing sexual problems and fertility distress will be tested in a population-based randomized controlled trial for adolescents and young adults with cancer.
View full article
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