Objective Cervical cancer is known to impair women’s sexual function. This study aimed at investigating the attitudes and behavior of radiation oncologists regarding sexual functioning of female cervical cancer patients who receive radiation therapy.
Methods A total of 186 radiation oncologists were included. A self-reported questionnaire was used to investigate the attitudes and behavior of radiation oncologists. The oncologists were queried on their history of consultation on sexual issues, attitudes, and behavior toward sexual issues and considerations of sexual life for cervical cancer patients who receive radiotherapy.
Results Among 120 radiation oncologists who completed the questionnaires, 101 (84.2%) had been consulted on sexual issues, of whom only 29 (24.2%) were consulted by more than 10% of cervical cancer patients who received radiation therapy or their families. Compared with those without a history of consultation, radiation oncologists with a history of consultation were more likely to agree that “radiation oncologists should deal with a patient’s sexual issues” (88.1% vs 68.4%) and disagree that “sex is private and should not be interfered with” (66.2% vs 44.5%). Five radiation oncologists (4.2%) had received special training to deal with the sexual issues of cervical cancer patients who receive radiotherapy, and 112 oncologists (93.3%) did not have any information on sexual functioning to give the their patients.
Conclusions History of consultation on sexual issues affects radiation oncologists’ attitudes and behavior toward sexual issues of cervical cancer patients. Radiation oncologists should have a more positive attitude toward sexual issues and should receive more specific relevant training.
- Radiation oncologist
- Cervical cancer
- Sexual issues
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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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