Sexual Function in Gynecologic Cancer Survivors

Alison Amsterdam; Michael Krychman

Disclosures

Expert Rev of Obstet Gynecol. 2008;3(3):331-337. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Sexual problems are common among patients and survivors of gynecologic neoplasms. Dysfunction may result from the therapies that are aimed at curing or containing disease, or as a result of the psychological distress that the patient and/or her partner experiences during diagnosis and treatment of malignancy. A sexual rehabilitation program in an oncology setting, using a multidisciplinary approach, is necessary to provide comprehensive care to the gynecologic oncology patient and her partner.

Sexual problems after cancer treatment are difficult for female cancer survivors and are often multifactorial in etiology. Research suggests that approximately 50% of women who have experienced breast or gynecologic malignancy have serious concerns regarding sexual functioning.[101] Andersen has reported that sexual complaints can occur in up to 90% of women with a history of a cancer diagnosis.[1,2] These patients typically report lowered desire and/or painful intercourse or dyspareunia. The American Cancer Society has estimated that over 10 million cancer survivors live in the USA and, with improved technology and advancements in diagnostics and therapeutics, it is currently estimated that at least 65% of cancer survivors will live for more than 5 years after diagnosis.[102] Thus, the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunction in this patient population will continue to be an important factor in the total care of the cancer patient in the coming years.

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