The Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer
Letter from the Chair
Overnight the world has changed.

What we took for granted just a few months ago now seems like an unattainable luxury. During these unprecedented times, as we watch COVID 19 – first detected in Wuhan, China, in the fall of 2019 – spread throughout each state, our country and the world, it has become more important than ever for healthcare workers, educators, clinicians and researchers to stay connected to one another.

Living in New York City, the epicenter of this pandemic in the US, I have seen firsthand not only the devastating consequences of this silent killer but also the strength, passion, empathy and perseverance of my colleagues and first-line workers throughout the city. We have had to adapt to a new and safer normal. We now work remotely to treat our patients, our children have distance virtual learning, and research has taken on new forms.

As we adopt social distancing as our way of life, however, we lose some of the essential physical patient interactions and in-person collaborative research opportunities. This public health crisis has prevented us from congregating at meetings and conferences, which are an essential part of networking and brainstorming new research ideas.

Unfortunately, the Network is no exception. For the safety of all members, the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer made the difficult decision to postpone its annual meeting. I encourage you to read on in our newsletter to learn about the updates on our conference, as planning for the conference on its new dates is underway.

Despite these challenges, we are committed to making strides toward our vision of providing all women and girls affected by cancer with timely access to evidence-based education and care to promote sexual well-being and optimize sexual outcomes. As Network members, we will continue to accelerate rigorous science, promote evidence-based education and practice, and advocate for informed policy in order to move the field forward.

One such initiative is to host virtual interactions for our members and educational webinars in order to disseminate up to date information about cancer and women’s sexual health. Read on in our newsletter to learn about what we are planning.

Against this unusual backdrop, I hope that you are finding a way to mark this time in big and small ways and enjoy the extra unexpected family time. For any member that has personally fallen ill to COVID or has lost family members or friends, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I wish everyone a speedy recovery and excellent health. I hope that one day we can all reflect on this pandemic – not just as an incredibly painful time, but also as a productive period of self growth.

I look forward to a future that includes networking and in-person interactions with all of you! Stay safe and healthy.


Shari Goldfarb, Scientific Network Chair
8th Conference of the Scientific Network
Unprecedented Times
Like nearly all organizations confronting the quandary of if, when, and how to plan a scientific conference against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, we made the difficult choice to postpone the 8th Conference of the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer, originally scheduled for late October, 2020 until Spring, 2021. While we are disappointed we won’t see you all in the Fall, we recognize that these are unprecedented times, and we are committed to making the best decisions for the safety of our members and in the best interest of the Network.

We are pleased to announce the new conference dates are April 7-9, 2021 at Women’s & Infants Hospital in Providence, RI. The overall format will remain as initially proposed, with a pre-conference CME/CE course held on the first day, April 7, and the conference scheduled on April 8-9. We hope you will join us for the outstanding educational and networking experience you can expect from our annual meeting.
New & Newsworthy
New Webinar Initiative
You can count on the Scientific Network for the latest research, resources, and education in the female sexual health arena for cancer patients and survivors. With this in mind, we are working to develop a webinar series to meet these needs. Watch your inbox and the Network website ( for announcements about this exciting new initiative!

If you have topics to suggest for future webinars or suggestions on other initiatives that could build connections while we are quarantined (and beyond), please email them to us at
Research Spotlight
In this newsletter, we are excited to highlight recent research projects by two of our members, Elizabeth Arthur and Stacy Lindau.

Elizabeth Arthur PhD, APRN-CNP, AOCNP

The importance of partner communication in women’s sexual adjustment after cancer is well documented. Increasing women’s self-efficacy to communicate with their partner is often a main goal of psychoeducational interventions for sexual wellbeing after cancer treatment. Until now, there have been no validated assessments of self-efficacy to communicate with a partner about changes in sex and intimacy. Elizabeth Arthur PhD, APRN-CNP, AOCNP and her team at The Ohio State University recently published their work supporting the reliability and validity of the Self-Efficacy to Communicate about Sex and Intimacy (SECSI) Scale in a sample of women with mixed cancer types. The SECSI scale is a 10-item self-report tool with high internal reliability in the sample of 250 women. To use the scale in your research, contact Liz Arthur at

Stacy Lindau, MD, MAPP

Can a bionic breast mitigate the sensory consequences of mastectomy? Funded by the NCI, Scientific Network member Stacy Lindau, MD, MAPP and her colleague Sliman Bensmaia, PhD, from the University of Chicago, suggest sensors embedded under the skin of the nipple-areolar complex can be used to detect touches. The output of the sensors then drives electrical stimulation of nerves, eliciting tactile sensations experienced on the nipple–areolar complex. The hope is that the bionic breast will restore a woman’s sense that her breast belongs to her body so she can experience the pleasure of an embrace and derive the benefit of the sensual touch of her partner.
Member Spotlight

Marloe Esch, BSN, RN, OCN

Newly elected to the Scientific Network Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 term, oncology-certified nurse and YA cancer survivor Marloe Esch is excited to be a part of advancing the mission of the Scientific Network.

Marloe graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Nursing in 2008 (go Badgers!), and currently works as a Breast Care Nurse Navigator with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Center for Diagnostic Imaging in Milwaukee, WI. She holds a certificate from the Sexual Health Certificate Program through the University of Michigan in both Sexuality Education and Sexuality Counseling and is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree as a Clinical Nurse Specialist through the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee College of Nursing.

A passionate advocate for sexual health and wellness, Marloe’s mission is to bring sex into the survivorship spotlight. She facilitates sessions on sexuality for survivors through Froedtert's Patient Support Services and is a regular contributing author on the topic of sexuality and cancer for the national AYA publication Elephants and Tea. She has also presented locally and regionally for the Young Survival Coalition, the Oncology Nursing Society, and Planned Parenthood of WI, among others.

As part of the Newsletter Committee, she looks forward to keeping everyone up to date on the happenings within the Network and beyond.
Welcome New Members
  • Monica Christmas, MD, Chicago, IL (University of Chicago)
  • Jutta Deininger, DNP, WHNP, Salt Lake City, UT (Huntsman Cancer Institute)
  • Heather Miles, MSN, APRN, WHNP-BC, Columbia, SC (University of South Carolina)
  • Sandra Reed, MD, Atlanta, GA (Emory University)
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