Sexual issues a major concern for cancer patients taking new targeted drugs

September 02, 2017

The impact of treatment on the sexuality of cancer patients is poorly understood, and is generally not considered in clinical trials of treatments, Dr Loriot said. ???Oncologists can address this issue first by assessing this concern more often in clinical trials, and by talking with their patients about it,??? he said.

He suggested that oncologists could offer patients an assessment for sexual disorders during their treatment course, establish an outpatient clinic to deal with sexual disorders, or, if needed, refer patients to a specialist. Sexuality is a major concern for cancer patients, as it is for everyone, noted Professor Raphael Catane, Chair of the department of oncology at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel. ???The disease itself, and frequently its therapy, may have a major detrimental effect on the patient's sex life. It is hoped that the new biological/targeted treatments would be less injurious to the sexual life of cancer patients. ???

???The study by this French group has taken an important step toward understanding the effect of biological/targeted treatments on sexuality,??? Prof Catane said. ???They meticulously reviewed the sexual function of their patients receiving biological agents. The results show a diminished sexual drive and pleasure, but the degree and the duration, and how it compares to the standard/conventional therapy, is not yet known. This study can be a basis for further investigation of this very important aspect of cancer therapy.???