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Do young adults with cancer receive information about treatment-related impact on sex life? Results from a population-based study

Bergstrom, C., Lampic, C., Roy, R. , Hedman, C., Ahlgren, J., Ståhl, O., Smedby, K. E., Hellman, K., Henriksson, R., Eriksson, L. E. ORCID: 0000-0001-5121-5325 & Wettergren, L. (2023). Do young adults with cancer receive information about treatment-related impact on sex life? Results from a population-based study. Cancer Medicine, 12(8), pp. 9893-9901. doi: 10.1002/cam4.5672


BACKGROUND: Sexual dysfunction is common following a cancer diagnosis in young adulthood (18-39 years) and problems related to sex life are ranked among the core concerns in this age group. Yet, few studies have investigated to what extent adults younger than 40, receive information from healthcare providers about the potential impact of cancer and its treatment on their sex life.

METHODS: A population-based cross-sectional survey study was conducted with 1010 young adults 1.5 years after being diagnosed with cancer (response rate 67%). Patients with breast, cervical, ovarian and testicular cancer, lymphoma, and brain tumors were identified in national quality registries. Sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with receiving information were examined using multivariable binary logistic regression.

RESULTS: Men to a higher extent than women reported having received information about potential cancer-related impact on their sex life (68% vs. 54%, p < 0.001). Receipt of information varied across diagnoses; in separate regression models, using lymphoma as reference, both women and men with brain tumors were less likely to receive information (women: OR 0.10, CI = 0.03-0.30; men: OR 0.37, CI = 0.16-0.85). More intensive treatment was associated with higher odds of receiving information in both women (OR 1.89; CI = 1.28-2.79) and men (OR 2.08; CI = 1.09-3.94). None of the sociodemographic factors were associated with receipt of information.

CONCLUSIONS: To improve sexual health communication to young adults with cancer, we recommend diagnosis-specific routines that clarify when in the disease trajectory to discuss these issues with patients and what to address in these conversations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2023 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Publisher Keywords: communication, health personnel, neoplasms, sexual dysfunction, young adult
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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