Nurses are caregivers who provide support and information to patients in a clinical setting. In oncology, support may take on a sensitive note, especially with patients fighting testicular cancer. Researchers in Ireland recently published a small study in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing reporting a strong disconnect between female nurses and patients with testicular cancer.

Researchers sent out 200 questionnaires to female oncology nurses. Only 89 questionnaires were returned. When analyzed, nurses claimed they were willing to address patient concerns, but openness to discuss sexual concerns was lacking. Issues like erectile dysfunction, impotence, and self-examination of the testicles are all very important discussions for the testicular cancer patient, but patient needs are not being addressed on a clinical level by female nurses. Most nurses were uncomfortable and lacked knowledge so they didn’t discuss the issues.

Conclusion: Female nursing staff in oncology settings may need additional education and training to provide optional care, support, and education to patients with testicular cancer.

Source: Moore A, Higgins A, Sharek D. Barriers and facilitators for oncology nurses discussing sexual issues with men diagnosed with testicular cancer. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2013 Jan 2. pii: S1462-3889(12)00125-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2012.11.008.

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