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J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Nov;24 Suppl 2:S407-11. doi: 10.1007/s11606-009-1026-5.

General internist communication about sexual function with cancer survivors.

Author information

  • 1Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 50 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA. epark@partners.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sexual dysfunction is an important issue that affects many cancer survivors who are increasingly being cared for by internists.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the attitudes and reported practices of internists regarding survivorship care as it pertains to sexual dysfunction.

DESIGN:

Surveys were sent to 406 physicians affiliated with the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. Of the 319 eligibles, 227 were returned (71% RR).

MAIN RESULTS:

Of the 227 responders, 46% were "somewhat/very" likely to initiate a conversation about sexual dysfunction; 62% "never/rarely" addressed sexual dysfunction. Each additional weekly hour spent in patient care was associated with a 2% increase in the likelihood of sexual dysfunction being addressed or discussions about sexual dysfunction being initiated. Reported inadequate preparation/formal training around survivorship issues was associated with sexual dysfunction being addressed less often (odds ratio [OR] = 0.45). Perception of patient anxiety or fears about health was associated with sexual dysfunction being addressed more often (OR = 2.38). Perceived preparedness to evaluate long-term effects was associated with a greater likelihood of physicians initiating discussions about sexual functioning (OR = 2.49).

CONCLUSIONS:

Cancer survivors receive their long-term care from internists. Our results suggest that sexual dysfunction is often not addressed during their follow-up care. Additional training is needed to prepare physicians to negotiate this difficult issue.

PMID:
19838840
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2763155
Free PMC Article
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