The impact of cancer on intimacy and sexuality: it has more impact than you think!

  • Auteur(s):
    Marjolein E.M. den Ouden, Madeleen J. Uitdehaag
  • Show to public:
    No

Background: In the Netherlands the most prevalent types of cancer are prostate cancer (19.5% in men), breast cancer (28.1% in women), colon cancer (15.5% in men, 12.8% in women), and lung cancer (12.0% in men, 10.4% in women). The five-year survival rate has increased in recent year, underscoring the importance of taking long term consequences into account in the decision making process of treatment options. Cancer
(treatment) can affect quality of life in various ways, including the impact on intimacy and sexuality. The aim of the present review is to give an overview of the impact of breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer on intimacy and sexuality.
Methods: The electronic databases of PubMed (MEDLINE), Cinahl and Web of Science were systematically searched for studies describing the impact of cancer (i.e. breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer) on intimacy and sexuality. Domains of interest were sexual function, sexual identity and sexual relation.
Results: The search strategy resulted in 80 studies, of which 45 on breast cancer, 20 on prostate cancer, 5 on colon cancer and 10 on lung cancer. Most studies were focussed on the negative impact of cancer (treatment)
on sexual function. Conclusion: Breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer (treatment) impact all domains of sexual functioning (sexual function, sexual identity and sexual relation). Both patients and partners should be informed about the impact of cancer on intimacy and sexuality. Patients and partners expect that professionals initiate the conversation about this topic.

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