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Patients Treated for Hematologic Malignancies

Affected Sexuality and Health-Related Quality of Life

Olsson, Cecilia MScN, RN; Sandin-Bojö, Ann-Kristin PhD, RNM; Bjuresäter, Kaisa PhD, RN; Larsson, Maria PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000141
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Background: Sexuality in relation to health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is studied mostly with younger patients as participants who have undergone bone marrow transplantation and concerns fertility and/or sexual function. However, patients with hematologic malignancies such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or acute myeloid leukemia most often are above their fifties and are treated with chemotherapy or chemoimmunotherapy.

Objective: The aim was to examine how sexuality and HRQoL were affected in patients with hematologic malignancies at baseline compared with 1 month after chemotherapy or chemoimmunotherapy.

Methods: Data were collected twice with a longitudinal design using the Sexual Adjustment Questionnaire and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life questionnaire.

Results: Thirty-two patients responded. The importance of sexuality, sexual desire, and sexual ability decreased 1 month after treatment and distressing symptoms such as feelings of tiredness occurred more frequently compared with baseline. At the same time, improvement in global health status/quality of life as well as affected functions in HRQoL was reported.

Conclusion: The findings are of significance for nurses in cancer care as these highlight that sexuality and HRQoL need to be considered also in older patients with hematologic malignancies when fertility issues are of less importance.

Implication for Practice: To meet these patients’ needs regarding sexuality and HRQoL, the care must provide greater consistency and continuity. One way is to organize the care in a patient-centered way where patients continuously meet a nurse guided by the idea of holistic individual nursing care throughout the care trajectory.

Author Affiliations: Faculty of Health, Science and Technology, Department of Health Sciences, Karlstad University, Sweden (Ms Olsson and Drs Sandin-Bojö, Bjuresäter, and Larsson); and the Women Department, The County Council of Värmland, Sweden (Dr Sandin-Bojö).

Author contributions: C.O, A.K.S.B., and M.L. were responsible for the study design. C.O. carried out the data collection, performed the data analyses, and was responsible for the drafting of the manuscript. A.K.S.B., K.B., and M.L. made critical revisions to the paper for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version of the paper.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Cecilia Olsson, MScN, RN, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology, Department of Health Sciences, Karlstad University, Universitetsgatan 2, S-651 88, Karlstad, Sweden (cecilia.olsson@kau.se).

Accepted for publication February 12, 2014.

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