Interventions to address sexual problems in people with cancer

  • L. Barbera University of Toronto
  • C. Zwaal Cancer Care Ontario
  • D. Elterman University of Toronto,
  • K. McPherson Cancer Care Ontario
  • W. Wolfman University of Toronto
  • A. Katz CancerCare Manitoba
  • A. Matthew University of Toronto
  • and the Interventions to Address Sexual Problems in People with Cancer Guideline Development Group
Keywords: Sexual problems, practice guidelines, interventions

Abstract

Background

Sexual dysfunction in people with cancer is a significant problem. The present clinical practice guideline makes recommendations to improve sexual function in people with cancer.

Methods

This guideline was undertaken by the Interventions to Address Sexual Problems in People with Cancer Expert Panel, a group organized by the Program in Evidence-Based Care (pebc). Consistent with the pebc standardized approach, a systematic search was conducted for existing guidelines, and the literature in medline and embase for the years 2003–2015 was systematically searched for both systematic reviews and primary literature. Evidence found for men and for women was evaluated separately, and no restrictions were placed on cancer type or study design. Content and methodology experts performed an internal review of the resulting draft recommendations, which was followed by an external review by targeted experts and intended users.

Results

The search identified 4 existing guidelines, 13 systematic reviews, and 103 studies with relevance to the topic. The present guideline provides one overarching recommendation concerning the discussion of sexual health and dysfunction, which is aimed at all people with cancer. Eleven additional recommendations made separately for men and women deal with issues such as sexual response, body image, intimacy and relationships, overall sexual functioning and satisfaction, and vasomotor and genital symptoms.

Conclusions

To our knowledge this clinical practice guideline is the first to comprehensively evaluate interventions for the improvement of sexual problems in people with cancer. The guideline will be a valuable resource to support practitioners and clinics in addressing sexuality in cancer survivors.

Author Biographies

L. Barbera, University of Toronto
Department of Radiation Oncology
C. Zwaal, Cancer Care Ontario
Program in Evidence-Based Care
D. Elterman, University of Toronto,
Department of Surgery, Division of Urology
K. McPherson, Cancer Care Ontario
Patient and Family Advisory Council
W. Wolfman, University of Toronto
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
A. Matthew, University of Toronto
Department of Surgery, Division of Urology
Published
2017-06-28
How to Cite
Barbera, L., Zwaal, C., Elterman, D., McPherson, K., Wolfman, W., Katz, A., Matthew, A., & Guideline Development Group, and the I. to A. S. P. in P. with C. (2017). Interventions to address sexual problems in people with cancer. Current Oncology, 24(3), 192-200. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.24.3583
Section
Practice Guideline