Opening the Conversation

A study for reproductive-aged cancer survivors and their partners

Couples: Join our study and empower your voices!

Many people with a history of breast and gynecologic cancer experience reproductive or sexual difficulties, and there are few resources to help couples cope. We are developing a program to help fill this gap, but we need your help. The program will teach couples to cope and communicate with each other about their sexual and reproductive health concerns.

We are interested in hearing from couples with a variety of sexual orientations and gender identities so that we can create an inclusive program.



Eligibility criteria for survivor participants include

  • Cancer survivor diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 39 and currently under age 45
  • Breast or gynecologic cancer diagnosis 6 months – 5 years prior to study enrollment
  • Cancer stage 1-4
  • Ability to participate in a videoconference interview, including access to high speed internet
  • Has a committed partner who is willing to participate


Inclusion criteria for partners include

  • Age 18 or older
  • Ability to participate in a videoconference interview, including access to high speed internet

Both partners must agree to participate to be eligible.



Things to know about Opening the Conversation

1) You and your partner will be interviewed separately (each by yourself) to share your experiences and opinions about the program we are developing.

A trained interviewer will ask you questions about how you talk with your partner about fertility, parenthood decisions, and sexual health after cancer and any challenges you may have had. Next, they will ask you to share your opinions about a program to support couples community about these topics. For example-- your opinions on what would be most helpful, the types of topics that should be covered, and the best way to deliver the program. The whole interview is will take about 60 minutes. What you tell us in this interview will not be shared with your partner.

2) We may also invite you to complete a second interview, together with your partner, to share your opinions about the program after we have revised the materials.

3) Your feedback is extremely valuable, and will directly affect the changes we make to this program.

4) Participants will receive a $20 gift card for each interview.


How to participate

If you are interested in finding out more or have questions, please contact our study team at

You can also let us know how to contact you by filling out this form.

Your participation in this study will only be used for purposes of research, and your information will be kept confidential.



This study is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.


Research Team

Principal Investigator


Co-Investigators and Consultants

  • Marie Harvey, DrPH, Oregon State University
  • Karen Lyons, Ph.D., Boston College
  • Jennifer Reese, Ph.D., Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Chiara Acquati, Ph.D., University of Houston
  • Brandon Hayes-Lattin, MD, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Susan Hedlund, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Deborah Kashy, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • John Salsman, Ph.D., Wake Forest School of Medicine


Study Coordinator

  • Tammy Winfield, MS, Oregon State University



  • Julia Drizin, MA, Oregon State University
  • Ellie Smith, MA, Oregon State University


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