Cervical Cancer: Issues of Sexuality and Fertility
September 01, 2003
Cervical cancer rates have fallen in the United States; regardless, thedisease remains a significant concern for women, especially those whoare premenopausal. The management of cervical cancer is dependenton stage of disease at diagnosis, and specific needs emerge for patientsboth during and following treatment. Over the past decade, the focus hasbeen to maintain adequate tumor control while reducing long-termnegative consequences. However, problems with sexuality and fertilitypersist for women treated for cervical cancer despite these advances.Sexual dysfunction following treatment for gynecologic cancer hasbeen well documented in the literature, and recent studies demonstratethe success of brief psychosexual interventions. Treatment of sexualdifficulties in cancer patients can be achieved through the provision ofinformation, support, and symptom management, ideally as part of asexual health program. Resources are not always available to developsuch a program. However, medical professionals can identify individualsand organizations with expertise in treating sexual and fertilityconcerns, which can be provided to their patients, making help withthese problems more accessible as needs arise.