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Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2009 Apr;13(2):213-7. doi: 10.1188/09.CJON.213-217.

The importance of assessing sexuality: a patient perspective.

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  • 1Yale University Melanoma Group, New Haven, CT, USA.


A cancer diagnosis can have an overwhelming effect on patients' sexuality. Patients can suffer physically and emotionally from the side effects of cancer treatments. Nurses and physicians often fail to recognize the importance of the sexuality assessment to patients. The purpose of this article is to discuss sexuality from the perspectives of patients with cancer. Fifty-two patients were asked to define sexuality and its meaning to them. The results demonstrated that patients' definitions of sexuality can take on many different meanings. Only a small number of patients stated that sexuality was addressed by their nurse or physician. Many patients wished someone had asked them about or brought up the topic of sexuality. The results support the value and importance of performing a sexuality assessment in patients with cancer.

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