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Psycho-Oncology: Structure and Profiles of European Centers Treating Patients With Gynecological Cancer
  1. Annette Hasenburg, MD*,
  2. Frederic Amant, MD,
  3. Leen Aerts, MD,
  4. Astrid Pascal, BSc, BA,
  5. Patriciu Achimas-Cadariu, MD§ and
  6. Vesna Kesic, MD
  1. * Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Medical Centre Freiburg, Hugstetter, Freiburg, Germany;
  2. Department of Gynaecologic Oncology, UZ Gasthuisberg, KULeuven, Belgium;
  3. Department of Gynaecologic Oncology, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands;
  4. § Department of Surgical and Gynecological Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Cluj-Napoca, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Hatieganu” Romania; and
  5. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Clinical Centre of Serbia, Medical Faculty, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Annette Hasenburg, MD, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Medical Centre Freiburg, Hugstetter St 55, 79106, Freiburg, Germany. E-mail: annette.hasenburg{at}


Objective Psycho-oncological counseling should be an integrated part of modern cancer therapy. The aim of this study was to assess the structures and interests of psycho-oncology services within European Society of Gynecological Oncology (ESGO) centers.

Methods In 2010, a survey, which consisted of 15 questions regarding organization of psycho-oncological services and interests in training and research, was sent to all ESGO-accredited centers (n = 41).

Results The response rate was 65.8% (27 centers). 96.3% (n = 26) of the surveys came from universities, and 3.7% (n = 1) came from nonacademic institutions. Most of the institutions (92.6%, n = 25) offer psycho-oncological care, mainly by psychologists (64%, n = 16) or psycho-oncologists (48%, n = 12). Fifty-two percent of patients are evaluated for sexual dysfunction as sequelae of their disease or treatment-related adverse effects. Fifty-two percent (n = 14) of institutions offer psychological support for cancer care providers. Eighty-five percent (n = 23) of all centers are interested in psycho-oncological training, and the preferred teaching tools are educational workshops (87%). The main issues of interest are sexual problems in patients with cancer, communication and interpersonal skills, responses of patients and their families, anxiety and adjustment disorders, and palliative care. Eighty-five percent (n = 17) of the 20 institutions look for research in the field of psycho-oncology, and 55% (n = 11) of those are already involved in some kind of research.

Conclusions Although psycho-oncological care is provided in most of the consulted ESGO accredited centers, almost 50% of women lack information about sexual problems. The results of the survey show the need for and interest in psycho-oncology training and research, including sexual dysfunction. Furthermore, psychological support should be offered to all cancer care providers.

  • Psycho-oncology
  • ESGO
  • Gynecological cancer
  • Sexuality

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  • The authors declare that no potential conflict of interest exists.