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Korean J Androl. 2011 Apr;29(1):53-61. English. Original Article.
Lee JH , Han DH , Ahn TY , Ju SH , So BK , Lee SW .
Department of Urology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Urology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

PURPOSE: To investigate the practice and attitude of healthcare professionals toward the sexuality of cancer patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The subjects were comprised of doctors and nurses who served at two medical centers. Questionnaires consisted of five domains and fourteen questions were disseminated via emails in March 2009. The first domain (3 questions) pertained the recognition of sexual dysfunction in cancer patients, the second (2 questions) pertained cancer patients' experience of sexual dysfunction, the third (3 questions) pertained the attitude to cancer patients with sexual dysfunction, the fourth (3 questions) pertained capacity for sexual dysfunction treatment, and the fifth (3 questions) pertained problems or difficulties encountered when facing cancer patients' sexual dysfunction. RESULTS: Three hundred and twenty-six men and women completed the questionnaires, giving a response rate of 85.4%. The mean age was 33.6 years. The proportion of doctors and nurses were respectively 48.2% and 51.8%. The proportion of males and females were 29.8%, and 70.2%, respectively. Ninety point five per cent (90.5%) of respondents answered that cancer patients' sexual dysfunction is important to quality of life. However, fewer medical professionals (27.4%) give an affirmative answer that patients requested sexual dysfunction therapy. The occurred particularly less frequently in physicians (13.2%) than in surgeons (55.6%). Fifty-four point six (54.6%) percent of respondents said that they tried to resolve the problem when patients asking for treatment of sexual dysfunction. Only 38.3% of respondents experienced little or no difficulty in behaving naturally when counseling cancer patients about their sexual dysfunction. Female doctors and nurses more often experience embarrassment when addressing sexuality with patients. In addition, most respondents (84.0%) felt that theoretical knowledge on cancer patients' problems is needed. CONCLUSIONS: Most healthcare professionals agreed that sexual problems of cancer patients were important for quality of life. However, they frequently felt a lack of communicating skills and theoretical knowledge. Education programs on this issue and an appropriate contact system with specialists should be established.

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