Geneva, Switzerland, 28 March 2014 -- Many lung cancer patients suffer difficulties with sexual expression and intimacy, yet for too long the topic has been ignored by doctors and researchers, experts have said at the 4th European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC).
"It's time that doctors and scientists paid more attention to this important issue," said Stephane Droupy from the University Hospital of Nimes, France, speaking at a special session on sexual dysfunction after lung cancer treatment at ELCC.
Researchers have estimated that sexual dysfunction affects between 40 and 100% of patients who undergo cancer treatment. Studies have shown that these problems can persist as time passes, rather than improving.
However, much of the information gathered so far relates to breast, gynaecologic or prostate cancers. Much less is known about other cancers, including lung cancer.
At the ELCC Multidisciplinary Interactive Session on sexuality and cancer, Stphane Droupy and Luca Incrocci have discussed how to evaluate sexual function and how to treat sexual side-effects after therapy of lung cancer.
"We still have to do a lot of work on the awareness of sexual problems after cancer --and lung cancer in particular, and we hope that our session at ELCC will help begin the discussion about how best to help this group of patients," Droupy said.
The emotional and physical consequences of lung cancer, as well as the impact of treatments, can all affect sexuality, he said.
For example, patients often experience a loss of libido when they learn they have cancer, he said. Feelings of grief and depression can also diminish desire. The physical changes that result from cancer and the impact of treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also have negative impacts on sexual expression, he said.
In the case of lung cancer, some of these problems can be particularly challenging, Droupy said. "Unlik
|Contact: ELCC Press Office|
European Society for Medical Oncology