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Psychooncology. 2003 Jul-Aug;12(5):463-73.

Finding help for sexual problems after prostate cancer treatment: a phone survey of men's and women's perspectives.

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Department of Behavioral Science, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030-4009, USA.


As part of a larger postal survey, 320 survivors of prostate cancer who reported they were likely to seek help in the next year for a sexual problem were interviewed by phone about their strategies for finding help and the types of treatment that would help resolve post-cancer sexual problems. In addition, 164 sexual partners (including 160 wives, three female partners in committed relationships, and one gay male partner) were interviewed. Educational materials were used by patients and partners to answer questions about sexual dysfunction but were less useful in helping to find professional referrals or in actually resolving sexual problems, particularly for African-American couples. Men's preferred method of finding help was to consult a urologist or prostate cancer specialist to find a medical treatment for erectile dysfunction. Ninety-one percent of men had already tried to find medical help for erectile dysfunction, but previous attempts remained unsuccessful. Men wanted an oral medication that would resolve their sexual problem naturally, without major side effects. Only 43% of men said their partners had encouraged them to find help, and indeed a large minority of women had resigned themselves to having unsatisfying sex lives. These data suggest that including the partner in counseling about medical treatments for sexual function, and giving both men and partners realistic expectations about the limitations of existing treatments could boost the success of sexual rehabilitation after prostate cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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