Developmentally appropriate sexual health conversations with adolescent and young adult oncology patients
Cancer and its treatments have a significant impact on reproductive functioning, sexual health, and relationships. Because major developmental goals for adolescents and young adults are both sexual and social development, a diagnosis of cancer and it’s treatments can greatly disrupt adolescent and young adult (AYA) development and quality of life. Current AYA research supports the need for developmentally appropriate treatment interventions. The purpose of this study is to create guidelines for providers on the developmentally appropriate sexual health conversations that should take place with AYAs. This was accomplished by using the Delphi method of creating consensus among AYA oncology experts by taking into account the developmental phase and the specific sexual health needs of this particular population. The Delphi panelists concluded that developmentally appropriate sexual health information for AYAs should be determined by considering several patient and provider characteristics. Additionally, panelists expressed overall agreement on the necessary content of sexual health information that should be provided to AYA patients.