Indexed on: 07 Mar '15Published on: 07 Mar '15Published in: Current Sexual Health Reports
Treatment for cancer is improving, and an increasing number of men and women are surviving its diagnosis. Despite improvements in survival, residual side effects of cancer and treatment offer survivors challenges related to quality of life. Among those most commonly mentioned in this population are concerns related to sexual function. Cancer and treatments can cause numerous symptoms related to sexual dysfunction including loss of libido and desire, difficulty with orgasm, physical challenges in engagement in sexual acts, issues related to intimacy, and more global issues related to mood symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and body image dissatisfaction. While pharmacologic agents have shown improvements in sexual functioning for men, their success for women has been more limited. Additionally, while patients with specific types of cancer have been the subjects of research on sexual dysfunction (e.g., prostate and testicular caners in men and breast and gynecologic cancers in women), patients across various cancer diagnoses experience sexual dysfunction. This paper will review the most current interventions and theoretical models for treatment of sexual dysfunction and offer a comprehensive plan for future intervention development and dissemination to improve sexual recovery after cancer.