Sexual dysfunction in women with cancer

Sexual function is a major quality of life issue for female cancer survivors, and familiarity with the sexual effects of cancer treatment helps physicians address these issues.

Sandy Falk, M.D., Don S. Dizon, M.D.

Volume 100, Issue 4, Pages 916-921, October 2013


Approximately 14 million people have a history of cancer in the United States alone, and the number is expected to increase with time. This has prompted an appreciation of the quality of life for survivors. Women treated for cancer identify gynecologic issues as a major concern for both general health and the negative impact on sexual function that follow the cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Unfortunately, issues related to sexual health continue to be underappreciated. Although comprehensive cancer centers have adopted specialized centers for survivorship issues, including those involving sexual health, consultations are not widely available in most communities. We provide background information on female sexual health, examine the impact of cancer treatment on sexual function, and discuss some of the major sexual health issues of women who have received a cancer diagnosis and been subsequently treated.

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