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Interventions needed to address sexual health in lung cancer

Presented by
Dr Narjust Florez, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, MA, USA
WCLC 2022
Sexual dysfunction is prevalent among women with lung cancer, demonstrated an observational study evaluating sexual health in these patients. The authors concluded that sexual health should be incorporated into thoracic oncology care, and that tailored interventions are needed to address this issue [1].

“Lung cancer has been associated with sexual dysfunction,” said Dr Narjust Florez (Dana Farber Cancer Institute, MA, USA) [2]. “However, these data mostly stem from the pre-immune checkpoint inhibitor-era, and sexual health in lung cancer is therefore a currently understudied topic.” Dr Florez and colleagues assessed the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in women with lung cancer via a validated online questionnaire. The observational SHAWL study included 249 participants, with ages ranging from 29–84 years.

Moderate to severe sexual dysfunction was reported in 77% of the participating women. In addition, 59% of the participants who had sexual activity in the last 30 days reported issues with vaginal dryness and 26% of all responders noted complaints of vaginal pain or discomfort during sexual activity. Furthermore, there was a marked difference in decreased sexual interest before and after the diagnosis of lung cancer (15% vs 31%; P<0.001). Finally, reasons for a reduced satisfaction of patients with their sex life included fatigue (40%), sadness/unhappiness (28%), issues with partner (22%), and shortness of breath (15%).

  1. Florez N, et al. Sexual Health Assessment in Women with Lung Cancer (SHAWL) study. MA14.04, WCLC 2022, Vienna, Austria, 06–09 August.
  2. Bober SL, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Oct 20;30(30):3712-9.


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