Cancer and Sexual Problems

R Sadovsky, R Basson, M Krychman, AM Morales, L Schover, R Wang, Luca Incrocci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

239 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction. There are many data on sexual problems subsequent to cancer and its treatment, although the likelihood of problems in specific individuals depends on multiple variables. Aims. To gain knowledge about the risks of sexual problems among persons with cancer and to provide recommendations concerning their prevention and optimal treatment. Methods. A committee of multidisciplinary specialists was formed as part of a larger International Consultation working with urologic and sexual medicine societies over a 2-year period to review the result of chronic illness management on sexual function and satisfaction. The aims, goals, data collection techniques, and report format were defined by a central committee. Main Outcomes Measures. Expert consensus was based on evidence-based medical and psychosocial literature review, extensive group discussion, and an open presentation with a substantial discussion period. Results. Cancer and cancer treatments have both direct and indirect effects on physiologic, psychological, and interpersonal factors that can all impact negatively on sexual function and satisfaction. Data on the likelihood of specific sexual problems occurring with cancer and its management vary depending on prediagnosis function, patient response, support from the treatment team, specific treatments used, proactive counseling, and efforts to mitigate potential problems. This summary details available literature concerning the pathophysiologic and psychological impacts of cancer diagnosis and treatment on sexual function, plus recommendations for their prevention and management. Conclusions. Cancer and its management have a significant negative impact on sexual function and satisfaction. These negative effects can be somewhat mitigated by understanding prediagnosis sexual functioning level, counseling, careful treatment choices, and, when indicated, therapy post-treatment using educational, psychological, pharmacologic, and mechanical modalities. Sadovsky R, Basson R, Krychman M, Morales AM, Schover L, Wang R, and Incrocci L. Cancer and sexual problems. J Sex Med 2010;7:349-373.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)349-373
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Research programs

  • EMC MM-03-32-04

Cite this