New research was presented at ASTRO 2020, the virtual American Society for Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting, from October 24-28.
With the input of radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and surgeons, researcher developed a questionnaire including more than 25 questions focused on experiences with sexual side effects after cancer treatment and distributed it to adults with mostly breast (67%), prostate (16%), and endometrial (6%) cancers treated with chemotherapy (78%), radiation therapy (54%), and/or hormone therapy (47%). Among respondents, 87% reported some change after cancer treatment that negatively affected their sexual function or desire, with 53.8% reporting body image distortion, 73.4% with dyspareunia, and 42.3% unable to achieve orgasm. However, only 27.9% said they had been formally asked by their clinician about their sexual health, and only about 40% said they had been preemptively warned that their treatment may affect their sexual health. “The majority of respondents felt that they would like a standard questionnaire to initiate and guide a discussion on sexual health with their provider,” noted the presenting study author.