Update On…

Update on … Gynecologic Cancer

Susan Weiss Behrend

gynecologic cancer, radiation therapy, sexual health, ovarian neoplasms
ONF 2013, 40(4), 407-408. DOI: 10.1188/13.ONF.407-408

White, Faithfull, and Allan (2013) conducted a focused ethnographic study from the United Kingdom (U.K.) discussing factors influencing the clinical assessment and interventions of long-term sequela of radiotherapy (RT) for women with pelvic malignancies. Pelvic RT causes physical side effects as well as psychosocial responses that negatively impact the sexual health of women and their partners. The authors illustrated the lack of research and thorough clinical assessment available to manage patients long term. The rationale for the study was the existence of a significant population of two million cancer survivors in the U.K. (MacMillan Cancer Support, 2008). Epidemiologic data suggest that few clinical supports are in place for cancer survivors and, therefore, post-treatment quality-of-life (QOL) alterations are not addressed. Clinicians are known to focus on assessment and management of acute treatment-related side effects and are unaware of and reluctant to manage chronic, late, or long-term side effects. QOL and RT studies indicate that women receiving pelvic RT experience significant disruption to sexual well-being. Accurate data in this population do not exist because of minimal prevalence data about the sexual function of the general U.K. adult population.

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