Sexuality and Reproductive Issues (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI] - Treatment of Sexual Problems in People With Cancer
Many patients are fearful or anxious about their first sexual experience after cancer treatment. Fear and anxiety can cause patients to avoid intimacy, touch, and sexual activity. The partner may also feel fearful or anxious about initiating any activity that might be thought of as pressuring to be intimate or that might cause physical discomfort. Patients and their partners should discuss concerns with their doctor or other qualified health professional. Honest communication of feelings, concerns, and preferences is important.
In general, a wide variety of treatment modalities are available for patients with sexual dysfunction after cancer. Patients can learn to adapt to changes in sexual function through reading books, pamphlets, and internet resources or listening to and watching videos and CD-ROMs. Health professionals who specialize in sexual dysfunction can provide patients with these resources as well as information on national organizations that may provide support. Some patients may need medical intervention such as hormone replacement, medications, medical devices, or surgery. Penile rehabilitation may be helpful for men who have had surgery for prostate cancer. Patients who have more serious problems may need sexual counseling on an individual basis, with his or her partner, or in a group. Further testing and research is needed to compare the effectiveness of various treatment programs that combine medical and psychological approaches for people who have had cancer.
Standard Treatment Options
Survival of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is affected by stage of disease at presentation and the completeness of resection at radical nephrectomy. Overall survival rates range from 64% to 87%. The 5-year survival for stage I is 90% or higher, for stages II and III it is 50% to 80%, and for stage IV it is 9%, which is similar to the stage-for-stage survival in RCC in adults. Retrospective analyses and the small number of patients involved place limitations...
Check NCI's list of cancer clinical trials for U.S. supportive and palliative care trials about sexuality and reproductive issues and sexual dysfunction that are now accepting participants. The list of trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.