Objective Both the location of primary disease and treatment side effects may have an impact on sexual function in oncogynecological patients. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence, strategies, difficulties, and ideas for improvement in sexual counseling among specialists managing patients with gynecologic malignancies.
Methods This was a cross-sectional survey study performed among healthcare professionals treating patients with gynecologic malignancies. A self-prepared questionnaire included 61 questions concerning general demographic information and different aspects of sexual counseling in the gynecologic oncology practice. Analysis included attitudes, behaviors, management strategies, difficulties, and ideas for possible systemic improvements. Statistical analysis involved descriptive statistics, two-sided chi-square test, and Fisher’s exact test.
Results A total of 150 respondents from 46 countries answered the survey. The majority of survey participants stated that sexual counseling of oncological patients is very important (n=73, 49%) or important (n=46, 31%). One hundred and two (68%) respondents agreed that sexual counseling of gynecologic oncology patients should be routinely provided by the specialist managing the primary disease. However, collecting information concerning sexual function is performed often or always by only 21% of respondents and 19% discuss the topic rarely or never. The most frequently indicated barriers leading to difficulties in sexual counseling include lack of time (74%), lack of specialist knowledge (55%), and patient embarrassment (48%). One hundred and seven (71%) respondents expressed interest in participating in sexual counseling workshops organized by the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO)/European Network of Young Gynaecological Oncologists (ENYGO), 74 (49%) would like to access webinars on the topic, and 120 (80%) would be interested in materials in the ESGO online educational resources.
Conclusion One of the proposed solutions to insufficient access to sexual care for women with gynecologic malignancies is providing access to specialist educational programs for both patients and healthcare specialists.
- Quality of Life (PRO)/Palliative Care
- Genital Neoplasms, Female
- Postoperative Care
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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