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Clinician attitude towards sexual counseling in women with gynecologic malignancies: European Network of Young Gynaecological Oncologists (ENYGO) survey
  1. Joanna Kacperczyk-Bartnik1,
  2. Krzysztof Nowosielski2,
  3. Zoia Razumova3,
  4. Nicolò Bizzarri4,
  5. Andrei Pletnev5,
  6. David Lindquist6,
  7. Maximilian Lanner7,
  8. Tanja Nikolova8,
  9. Charlampos Theofanakis9,
  10. Aleksandra Natalia Strojna10,
  11. Paweł Bartnik1,
  12. Natalia R Gómez-Hidalgo11,
  13. Dimitrios-Efthymios Vlachos12,
  14. Ilker Selcuk13 and
  15. Kamil Zalewski14,15
  1. 1II Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
  2. 2Department of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecological Oncology, University Clinical Center, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
  3. 3Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  4. 4UOC Ginecologia Oncologica, Dipartimento per la salute della Donna e del Bambino e della Salute Pubblica, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy
  5. 5Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Zielona Góra, Zielona Góra, Poland
  6. 6Department of Clinical Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  7. 7Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Kardinal Schwarzenberg'sches Krankenhaus, Schwarzach, Steiermark, Austria
  8. 8Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Klinikum Mittelbaden, Academic Teaching Hospital of Heidelberg University, Baden-Baden, Germany
  9. 9Department of Gynaecological Oncology, General Hospital of Athens Alexandra, Athens, Greece
  10. 10Department of Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Essen, Germany
  11. 11Gynecological Oncology Department, Vall d'Hebron Hospital, Barcelona, Spain
  12. 12First Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
  13. 13Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Zekai Tahir Burak Kadin Sagligi EAH, Ankara, Turkey
  14. 14Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Holycross Cancer Center, Kielce, Poland
  15. 15Department of Gynaecology, Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Krzysztof Nowosielski, Department of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecological Oncology, Medical University of Silesia, 40-055 Katowice, Poland; dr.krzysztof.nowosielski{at}gmail.com

Abstract

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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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to manuscript preparation. JK-B: concept, assumptions, study design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, article draft, guarantor. KN: concept, assumptions, study design, article draft, corresponding author. ZR: study design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, revised article critically. NB: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. AP: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. DL: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. ML: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. TN: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. CT: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. ANS: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. PB: study design, analysis and interpretation of data, revised article critically. NRG-H: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. D-EV: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. IS: study design, acquisition of data, revised article critically. KZ: concept, assumptions, study design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, revised article critically.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.