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Study could lead to better education and treatment of sexual health for breast cancer patients

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A new study by the University of Colorado Cancer Center shows that more than 70 percent of breast cancer patients report changes that affect their sexual health during treatment and after treatment.

The study was published this week in the Journal of Medical Oncology.

More than 3.8 million survivors of breast cancer live with permanent or temporary physical and psychological treatment that affects sexuality. health. However, there is limited information that suggests the preferred method and timing of sexual health education,” said Sarah Tevis, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Medicine on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

The study mentions that many oncology groups do not discuss the sexual side effects of breast cancer treatment with them the sick.

“The patients we spoke to in the focus groups all reported side effects of unplanned sex during treatment. However, they all expressed a desire for problems to be addressed early.” at the beginning of the diagnosis and they want to be advised by the doctors,” he said. Tevis, a member of the CU Cancer Center.

Research shows that while fertility and menopause issues are often addressed by providers, common issues such as vaginal dryness, sexual desire, pain during sex and body image issues are not discussed. This is either due to lack of time, lack of comfort with the subject or lack of training in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual problems.

“One of the patients I talked to told me that she was bleeding every time she went to the bathroom because of vaginal dryness,” Tevis said. “She never brought the matter to her doctor, because she thought that there is nothing that can be done, we need to discuss these issues in advance to make patients feel comfortable talking to them. remedy and the group so that patients know how to reduce.”

Not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach

The study also shows that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to dealing with these issues. Of the 87 patients who participated in the study, each one had their own preferences on how they would like to be presented with such concerns. solution.

“We found that younger patients preferred to have a conversation with their team while they were there elderly patients he was willing to review the literature,” Tevis said. “Cultural factors and beliefs also affect how patients prefer to tell their stories. This means doctors must think about the individual when delivering information.”

The research led to a partnership between the university and the non-profit organization Catch It In Time. Together they produce a series of videos that aim to help medical professionals and patients on the issues surrounding them. sexual health. The group hopes to have them sometime in the spring. The images will be available on the Colorado Program for Patient Decisions website.


Sexual health is often overlooked in cancer survivorship care, especially for women with the disease


Additional information:
Victoria Huynh et al, No One-Size-Fits-All: Sexual Health Education Preferences in Patients with Breast Cancer, Journal of Medical Oncology (2022). DOI: 10.1245/s10434-022-12126-7

Its availability
CU Anschutz Medical Center

hintStudy could lead to better education and treatment of sexual health for breast cancer patients (2022, August 2) retrieved on August 2, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-08-treatment -sexual-health-breast-cancer .html

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