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Sex and cancer


It appears that many cancer survivors are expressing a concern about their sexuality post treatment but are not getting appropriate attention from their doctors. Australian researchers spoke at the 35th Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Milan, Italy and they confirmed that many docs are missing an important treatment component.

The cancer survival rate has greatly improved with 65% surviving the diagnosis after five years and many of those survivors are young and of child producing years. The researchers interviewed 25 cancer survivors, 19 women and 6 men. “Respondents perceived fertility as an important concern that was often inadequately addressed by healthcare providers,” Professor Bogda Koczwara from Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide said.

“The most intriguing finding was that fertility concerns were also identified by women who have already completed their family, and fertility was an important issue even for those women who had no plans for further children,” Koczwara explained. Researchers discovered that fertility was an important factor in sense of identity and sexuality regardless of intention to ever have children. “That is important, as doctors may not raise these issues with patients who claim not to have plans for further children. As our study points out maybe we should,” Koczwara advised.

Sexual concerns also centered around a lost interest in sex and the guilt the survivor felt over being unable to participate sexually with their partner. Additionally, single survivors were apprehensive about beginning a new sexual relationship. Doctors also fail to address these concerns when treating the disease. “There seems to be a need for raising awareness of these concerns among cancer professionals and providing them with information and training regarding these concerns,” she concluded.

Source: European Society for Medical Oncology, ScienceDaily


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