Promoting Psychological Adjustment and Pelvic Health Among Female Cancer Survivors (2021-2022)

In 2020, more than 156,000 new cases of gynecologic, bladder, rectal and anal cancers were diagnosed among women in the United States. While survivorship is high, women frequently experience devastating and long-lasting side effects of treatment. Surveillance pelvic examinations are critical in the first two years when gynecologic cancer is most likely to recur, but patients can face significant anxiety and pain during these exams, especially those who have experienced changes in sexual function or pelvic pain from treatment and survivors of violence.

This team interviewed oncology care providers in order to improve methods to reduce anxiety and pain during surveillance pelvic examinations. Specifically, they studied cognitive behavioral interventions, which might include educational components along with focused attention, tension release and communication skills. Using the findings from these interviews, the team then created a patient workbook and therapist manual and developed a three-session intervention to be delivered to patients by the trained study therapists.

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video.


Summer 2021 – Spring 2022 

Team Outputs

Interventions to Ease the Burden of Gynecologic Cancer (2022 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Developing the Pelvic Examination and Anxiety Coping Skills for Empowerment (P.E.A.C.E.) Intervention (poster by Michelle Huang, Shernice Martin, Sophie Smith, Jessica Coleman, Sarah Arthur and Rebecca Shelby, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 13, 2022)

This Team in the News

Master's Student Honored for Her Outstanding Mentorship

Summer Spotlights: How Four Ph.D. Students Advanced Their Research

Summer Research Snapshots 2021

See related team, Promoting Sexual Function and Pelvic Health in Women's Healthcare (2022-2023).


Image: Pelvis, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY 3.0


Team Leaders

  • Jessica Coleman, Arts and Sciences–Department of Psychology and Neuroscience–Ph.D. Student
  • Rebecca Shelby, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

/graduate Team Members

  • Sarah Arthur, Psychology-AM, Psychology-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Michelle Huang, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Shernice Martin, Neuroscience (AB)
  • Sophie Smith, Program II (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Brittany Davidson, School of Medicine-Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Carol Figuers, School of Medicine-Family Medicine and Community Health: Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Lisa Massa, Physical Therapy
  • Niharika Mettu, School of Medicine-Medicine: Medical Oncology
  • Noga Zerubavel, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Duke Cancer Institute