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Assessment of treatment-induced female sexual morbidity in oncology: is this a part of routine medical follow-up after radical pelvic radiotherapy?

White, ID, Allan, H and Faithfull, S (2011) Assessment of treatment-induced female sexual morbidity in oncology: is this a part of routine medical follow-up after radical pelvic radiotherapy? British Journal of Cancer, 105. 903 - 910. ISSN 0007-0920

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Abstract

Background:Oncology follow-up has traditionally prioritised disease surveillance and the assessment and management of symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment. Over the past decade, the focus on late effects of treatment has increased, particularly those that have an adverse effect on long-term function and quality of life. The aim of this research was to explore factors that influence the identification of treatment-induced female sexual difficulties in routine oncology follow-up after radical pelvic radiotherapy.Methods:A structured observation schedule was used to systematically record topics discussed in 69 radiotherapy follow-up consultations observed over a 5-month period.Results:Analysis suggests that physical toxicity assessment focused on bowel (81%) and bladder (70%) symptoms. Vaginal toxicity was discussed less frequently (42%) and sexual issues were explored in only 25% of consultations. Formal recording of radiation toxicity through assessment questionnaires was limited to patients participating in clinical trials. Surveillance activity and the management of active physical symptoms predominated and psychosocial issues were addressed in only 42% of consultations.Interpretation:Female sexual morbidity after pelvic radiotherapy remains a neglected aspect of routine follow-up and cancer survivorship. Developments in both individual practice and service provision are necessary if the identification and management of treatment-induced female sexual difficulties is to be improved.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 6 September 2011; doi:10.1038/bjc.2011.339 www.bjcancer.com.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an article published in Nature, 105 (2011), DOI 10.1038/bjc.2011.339. Link to the published version.
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > Health and Social Care
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 04 May 2012 12:36
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2013 18:46
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/7325

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