Don't Shy Away from the Sex Talk With Cancer Survivors
DON S. DIZON, MD, FACP
Thursday, April 23, 2020
The availability of evidence-based research may help make clinicians more comfortable discussing sexual issues with cancer survivors, according to Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, FASCO, head, women's cancers, Lifespan Cancer Institute; director, medical oncology, Rhode Island Hospital; associate professor of medicine, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
It's highly prevalent, and depending on how you ask questions around this, 50% to 90% of people treated for breast cancer have these type of concerns. These concerns can be set off not only by the diagnosis, but by surgical, medical, and radiotherapeutic treatments.
As important as recognizing all of that is, this community needs to understand that there are ways to address those issues that are actually backed by data. We have evidence-based interventions that we can offer patients today. Discussing sexual health of a patient does not mean having to expose yourself to Pandora's box or concerns that you are absolutely unprepared to deal with. There is a way to address these concerns and bring it up that respects who you are as a physician and as a person in a very comfortable way, but also pointing people toward directions where they can actually access information or services that can help improve their life.