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J Gastrointest Oncol. 2014 Oct;5(5):388-94. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2078-6891.2014.059.

Addressing sexual dysfunction in colorectal cancer survivorship care.

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1 Department of Behavioral Health, 2 Department of Oncology/Hematology, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii 96859, USA.


Despite the high prevalence of sexual dysfunction in survivors of colorectal cancer, studies have shown that patients and providers rarely discuss how these symptoms may be influencing overall quality of life. The type and severity of symptoms of sexual dysfunction can vary greatly depending on the type of colorectal cancer and treatment, and assessment of sexual dysfunction is key to understanding how patients may be affected by these symptoms. Although patients would like to discuss these issues with their provider, they are often reluctant to ask questions about sexual functioning during appointments. Likewise, health care providers may hesitate to address sexual dysfunction due to time limitations or lack of knowledge regarding treatment of sexual problems. Health care providers can facilitate discussion of sexual dysfunction by (I) assessing sexual functioning throughout treatment; (II) initiating discussions about symptoms of sexual dysfunction at each appointment; and (III) maintaining adequate referral resources for treatment of sexual dysfunction.


Colorectal cancer; psychosocial factors; sex counseling; sexual dysfunction

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