The Lung Cancer Registry has launched a landmark new survey on the impact of lung treatments on women’s sexual health. The aim is to explore the magnitude of the problem and provide researchers and clinicians with new insights to improve the quality of life for women lung cancer survivors. Sexual distress is an essential component of quality of life in lung cancer, but it is infrequently studied and discussed. Most data regarding sexual dysfunction in patients with lung cancer precede the approval of targeted therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors, which are now the backbone of lung cancer treatment. We lack an understanding of how these new regimens—that have significantly improved the survival of patients with lung cancer—are affecting patients’ sex life and intimacy. Sexual dysfunction symptoms are often not collected in the clinical trials that lead to regulatory approvals.
Sexual health in patients with lung cancer is under-reported and, therefore, understudied. Previous studies have reported that the impact on sexual function is distressing to most patients with lung cancer, and sexual concerns are related to both higher symptom distress and worse functional status in patients with lung cancer.
The SHAWL (Sexual Health Assessment in Women with Lung Cancer) study is the result of a multi-institutional collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. All women with lung cancer, independently of cancer stage, treatment type, and geographic location, can participate in the study, including those with a history of lung cancer or who are actively receiving treatment for the disease. A survey is located at lungcancerregistry.org; it takes 5-15 minutes to complete and is strictly confidential. Participants will not be asked to provide identifiable information while completing the survey and will have access to the online questionnaire for 6 months.
Data collected through the SHAWL study will help researchers better understand the effect of lung cancer therapies on women’s sex life and intimacy—and, ultimately, identify solutions to improve sexual dysfunction and improve patients’ quality of life.
Patients and clinicians can access the SHAWL Study at lungcancerregistry.org.