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Protocol
Study protocol of a pilot study evaluating feasibility and acceptability of a psychosexual intervention for couples postallogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  1. Brindha Pillay1,
  2. Maria Ftanou1,2,
  3. David Ritchie3,
  4. Yvonne Panek-Hudson3,
  5. Michael Jefford4,5,
  6. Teresa Garcia3,
  7. Cassandra Shields6,7,
  8. Jo Gniel8,
  9. Jo Phipps-Nelson5,9,
  10. Allison Drosdowsky9,
  11. Sarah Blaschke9,
  12. Steve Ellen1
  1. 1Psychosocial Oncology Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Department of Clinical Haematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  6. 6School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  7. 7The Australian Centre for Emotionally Focused Therapy, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  8. 8Landscape of Life, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  9. 9Cancer Experiences Research, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brindha Pillay; brindha.pillay{at}petermac.org

Abstract

Introduction Sexual dysfunction is one of the most common side effects of allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) for haematological cancers. Problems can persist between 5 and 10 years post-transplant and impact mood, couple intimacy and relationship satisfaction. Few intervention studies, however, target sexual dysfunction in patients post-HSCT. This pilot study aims to examine the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a psychosexual intervention for HSCT survivors and their partners post-transplantation.

Methods and analysis Fifteen allogeneic HSCT survivors and their partners will be recruited. Patients who are more than 3 months post-transplantation will be sent invitation letters describing the couples’ psychosexual intervention that will be offered through this study. The intervention will comprise two components: (1) psychosexual education about medical and behavioural treatment options for sexual dysfunction delivered by a haematology nurse consultant; (2) emotionally focused therapy-based relationship education programme for couples delivered by a clinical psychologist (four sessions of 1.5 hours each). Couples who consent to participate will be administered a series of measures assessing mood, relationship satisfaction and sexual dysfunction preintervention and post-intervention, as well as satisfaction with the intervention postintervention. Feasibility of the intervention will be examined via recording enrolment rate, adherence, compliance with completing outcome measures and fidelity of intervention delivery.

Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval has been obtained at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Results will be presented at national and international conferences and published in a peer-reviewed journal so that in can be accessed by clinicians involved in the care of allogeneic HSCT patients. If this intervention is found to be feasible and acceptable, its impact will be examined in a future randomised controlled trial and subsequently implemented as part of routine care in the allogeneic HSCT population.

  • oncology
  • sexual dysfunction
  • bone marrow transplantation
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Footnotes

  • Contributors BP, MF: contributed to design of proposed study and drafting and revising the paper. DR: contributed to design of proposed study and revising the paper. YP-H: contributed to design of proposed study, description of medical/behavioural component of intervention and revising the paper. MJ: contributed to critical review of proposed study design and drafting of paper. TG: contributed to design of medical/behavioural component of intervention and revision of paper. CS: contributed to design of psychological component of intervention and revision of paper. JG: contributed to designing data collection tools, describing the psychological component of intervention and revising of paper. JP-N: contributed to design of proposed study and drafting and revising paper. AD: contributed to writing statistical analysis plan and revising of paper. SB: contributed to revising paper. SE: contributed to design of proposed study and revising paper.

  • Funding This work was supported by Foundation Grant from Peter MacCallum CancerFoundation, grant number (1839).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research. Refer to the Methods section for further details.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.