Fertility and Sexuality Concerns
This is another interesting study from the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) about the impact of a cancer diagnosis and treatment on sexuality and concerns re fertility. It is terrific that more attention is being paid to these important issues, and I am hopeful that real progress will be made in the management of these concerns. A good beginning, certainly, is this enhanced conversation.
Here is a quote and then a link to read more:
"The most intriguing finding was that fertility concerns were also identified by women who have already completed their family, and fertility was an important issue even for those women who had no plans for further children."
The researchers found that fertility was important for these patients' sense of identity and body image. "That is important, as doctors may not raise these issues with patients who claim not to have plans for further children. As our study points out, maybe we should."
Sexuality and fertility can be affected by cancer and its treatment in a variety of ways. For some cancers, treatment may involve removal of reproductive organs. For others, the chemotherapy or radiotherapy may affect reproductive organs function either temporarily or permanently. For most patients, cancer treatment, delays reproduction and by making the patient unwell may impact on sexual desire.
In this study, sexual concerns seemed to be related to changes in body image and sexual identity, and the often discrepant sexual needs of patient and their partner.
For single people, changes in sexual function resulted in anxiety about entering into future relationships.