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Sexual problems rarely addressed by internists caring for cancer survivors
Date:10/21/2009

very likely to bring up sexual issues during a patient visit, and 62 percent indicated they rarely or never addressed the subject with cancer survivors.

Factors associated with a physician's being more likely to address sexual issues were spending more time delivering direct patient care and feeling better prepared to care for cancer survivors in general. Lack of time was not cited as a barrier, and another predictor of the likelihood of discussions was the internists' perceptions of patient anxieties and fears about their health. "While conversations about sexual problems did not appear to be a standard part of most respondents' interactions with patients, it's interesting that such conversations were more likely to take place if they sensed that something was bothering the patient," Park says.

"Patients are often referred to me for anxiety or depression associated with cancer or other medical problems, but sexual health is almost never mentioned in the referral," adds Park, who is a clinical health psychologist and assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "It turns out that sexual issues are involved the majority of the time. They're a big aspect of what's going on with these patients, but are almost never being addressed." She and her colleagues cite the need for additional training to better prepare internists and other primary care practitioners to discuss sexual concerns with cancer survivors and other patients.


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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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