Adapting, developing and testing an eLearning resource for healthcare professionals to enhance the provision of sexual support in cancer care, including female cancers

Sharon Bingham, Eilis McCaughan, Cherith Semple, Carrie Flannagan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Objectives: Cancer and its treatment can cause significant sexual challenges for many patients and partners. Patients and their partners want healthcare professionals (HPs) to initiate and provide sexual support, yet these conversations are not routine practice. Current evidence highlights that female patients and partners are much less likely than males to receive support, resulting in high levels of anxiety, depression, relational dis-satisfaction and reduced overall quality of life.
Across cancer care, HPs identify a lack of knowledge as a key barrier to providing sexual support. Currently there is a lack of accessible education opportunities available to HPs, with a focus on common female cancers. Recently a theory-driven and positively evaluated eLearning resource to support HPs working within prostate cancer setting was developed (Maximising Sexual Wellbeing:Prostate Cancer (MSW:PC)). The aim of this current study is to adapt the MSW:PC eLearning resource, develop content and test to maximise sexual support across cancer care, ensuring the specific needs of individuals with female cancers are addressed.
Methods: Using the Person Based Approach, the eLearning resource was adapted by combining evidence from the literature, an expert group (n=27: patients, partners and HPs working in cancer care) and the research team. Content was adapted from the MSW:PC eLearning resource and new content developed using an iterative approach, relevant for a mixed cancer population including two common female cancers (breast and gynaecological). An iterative approach was also adopted with n=18 ‘think aloud’ interviews with HPs for prototype usability testing. This resulted in continuous movement between data collection, analysis and modification of the intervention.
Results: Involving key stakeholders and end-users throughout all phases of this process optimised intervention development. Many of the sexual challenges identified were common across cancer populations, with additional information required for some tumour groups. Gaps in content were identified and addressed, for example, body image issues and management of vaginal dryness. During the testing phase, navigational difficulties were identified and resolved.
Conclusion: The systematic and iterative person-based approach, yielded important insights to enhance the content and usability of the eLearning resource which has the potential to positively impact future sexual healthcare provision for females.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 9 Apr 2021
Event2021 Virtual Scientific Session : Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer - Online, United States
Duration: 9 Apr 20219 Apr 2021


Seminar2021 Virtual Scientific Session
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • sexuality
  • cancer care
  • eLearning
  • survivorship
  • person-based approach


Dive into the research topics of 'Adapting, developing and testing an eLearning resource for healthcare professionals to enhance the provision of sexual support in cancer care, including female cancers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this