Purpose: To provide an overview of the sexual problems and care needs of adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer between 15 and 39 years old (AYA’s).
Method: Databases Pubmed (1946-2017) and PsychINFO (1806-2017) were used in June 2017 to search articles. Relevant articles were selected.
Results: Results of 14 studies, 11 quantitative and 3 qualitative, indicate the negative impact of cancer on sexuality of AYA’s. The female AYA’s experience problems with sexual arousal and interest, relaxation and enjoy during sexual contact, reaching an orgasm, vaginal lubrication, and dyspareunia. Men experience problems with arousal, erection, and ejaculation. Feelings of physical attractiveness and a decrease of sexual activity were seen as problems for men and women. AYAs who experience unmet sexual needs, indicate that they miss practical help, information and/or counseling.
Conclusion: AYA’s can experience sexual problems caused by and/or maintained by physical, psychological and social factors and thereby they can experience unmet needs.
Implication: Despite the increase in AYA care initiatives, more attention should be paid to the sexual problems and needs of this group. Age-specific interventions should be developed.