Introduction/Background Reports on sexual education (SE) for gynecological cancer patients especially in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are scarce. We aim to highlight the needs and provided education for sexual health of gynecological cancer patients, during cancer treatment and on follow up.
Methodology This is a cross-sectional survey of survivors of gynecologic cancer at King Hussein Cancer Center, validated by a multidisciplinary panel of experts. It explored patient-provider discussions regarding sexual health, and factors related to primary disease and long-term effects of treatment including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Chi-square and ANOVA tests were used to measure association between these factors with sexual health education and patient satisfaction.
Results This pilot phase consisted of thirty patients, most of whom 14 (46%) had cervical cancer. The mean age was 49 years, and for their sexual partners was 55 years. All were married, of which 3 (11%) were sexually inactive, and 17 (57%) reported that their partners noted a negative impact on their sexuality. However, none considered stopping treatment to preserve sexual functions. 22 (73%) reported sexuality as somewhat or very important, of whom 18(61%) thought it was important to discuss in clinic. The most common barrier to SE discussion was having a male physician. In our primary analysis, we found that patients who were diagnosed with cervical cancer (compared to other gynecological cancers) were more likely to be educated about sexual side effects (p-value 0.023).
Conclusion To the authors knowledge; this is the first study in the MENA region tackling the topic of SE in this patient population. SE was found to be important in 2/3 of our patients. However, larger numbers are needed to validate our results and determine character of patients interested in discussing SE.
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