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Author Notes:

Natasha N. Frederick, Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Connecticut Children’s, 282 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106, USA. Email: nfrederick@connecticutchildrens.org

Natasha Frederick: conceptualization, data curation, formal analysis, methodology, project administration, writing‐original draft, writing‐review and editing. Kristin Bingen: conceptualization, formal analysis, methodology, writing‐review and editing. Sharon Bober: conceptualization, formal analysis, methodology, writing‐review and editing. Brooke Cherven: conceptualization, formal analysis, methodology, writing‐review and editing. XinXin Xu: formal analysis, writing‐review and editing. Gwendolyn Quinn: conceptualization, formal analysis, methodology, writing‐review and editing. Lingyun Ji: formal analysis, writing‐review and editing. David R. Freyer: conceptualization, data curation, methodology, formal analysis, writing‐review and editing.

This work was supported by the Children’s Oncology Group under the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health award numbers U10CA180886 and U10CA098543, the National Clinical Trials Network Statistics & Data Center Grant U10CA180899, and the Children’s Oncology Group/Aflac Foundation. (Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.)

The authors have no conflict of interest.



  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Oncology
  • adolescent and young adult
  • sexual and reproductive health in cancer
  • sexual health education
  • sexual health in pediatric oncology
  • CARE

Pediatric oncology clinician communication about sexual health with adolescents and young adults: A report from the children's oncology group


Journal Title:



Volume 10, Number 15


, Pages 5110-5119

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background: Sexual health (SH) is an important concern for adolescents and young adults (AYAs). This study determined current SH communication practices, barriers, and additional resources needed among pediatric oncology clinicians who treat AYAs. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was developed by the Children's Oncology Group (COG) AYA Committee and sent to pediatric oncologists (n = 1,987; 85.9%) and advanced practice providers (APPs, n = 326; 14.1%) at 226 COG institutions. Responses were tabulated and compared using tests of proportion and trend. Results: The sample comprised 602 respondents from 168 institutions and was proportionally representative (468 oncologists [77.7%], 76 APPs [12.6%], 58 unidentified [9.6%]; institutional and provider response rates 74.3% and 26.2%, respectively). Almost half of respondents (41.7%) reported no/small role in SH care. Medical topics were discussed most often, including contraception (67.2%), puberty (43.5%), and sexual activity (37.5%). Topics never/rarely discussed included gender identity (64.5%), sexual orientation (53.7%), and sexual function (50.3%). Frequently cited communication barriers included lack of time, low priority, perceived patient discomfort, and the presence of a parent/guardian. Respondents endorsed the need for further education/resources on sexual function (66.1%), gender identity/sexual orientation (59.5%), and body image (46.6%). Preferred education modalities included dissemination of published guidelines (64.7%), skills training modules (62.9%), and webinars (45.3%). By provider type, responses were similar overall but differed for perception of role, barriers identified, and resources desired. Conclusions: Many pediatric oncology clinicians play minimal roles in SH care of AYAs and most SH topics are rarely discussed. Provider-directed education/training interventions have potential for improving SH care of AYA cancer patients.

Copyright information:

© 2021 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/rdf).
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