Barriers to sexual recovery in women with urologic cancers

Jennifer A. Vencill, Elizabeth L. Kacel, Svetlana Avulova, Shawna L. Ehlers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Sexual health concerns are prevalent and distressing in oncology patients and survivors. While urologic cancers are more prevalent in men, women often have more advanced disease at initial diagnosis, require more advanced surgical resection, and experience higher postoperative complication rates, as well as morbidity and mortality. Women with urologic cancers undergo treatment that is highly likely to impact their sexual function and well-being, however, attention to sexual recovery in this patient population has been limited. Barriers to sexual recovery in women with urologic cancers are biopsychosocial in nature and include complications related to treatment procedures, cancer-related distress, sexual anxiety and avoidance, partner and relational dynamics, and sexual communication skills. Healthcare providers do not adequately address sexual difficulties for these patients and their partners. Sexual minority women and transgender patients with urologic cancer have unique psychosocial and sexual health needs though, due to a lack of research, these remain poorly understood. More research is needed to pinpoint the sexual health needs of this specific oncology population and to explore how various treatment options, such as pelvic organ-sparing cystectomy, can impact sexual health outcomes. Evidence-based and multidisciplinary oncologic and survivorship care, which includes licensed mental health providers, certified sex therapists, and other sexual health experts, is essential for assisting women in their sexual recovery following urologic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Bladder cancer
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Cystectomy
  • Genitourinary cancer
  • Genitourinary syndrome of menopause
  • Kidney cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexual function
  • Sexual health
  • Sexual recovery
  • Urologic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology

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