Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

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

Date:
October 12, 2010
Source:
European Society for Medical Oncology
Summary:
New drugs that target specific molecular mechanisms of cancer have improved the treatment of cancer patients in recent years, but those benefits may come with a cost to the patient's sex life, researchers have found.

New drugs that target specific molecular mechanisms of cancer have improved the treatment of cancer patients in recent years, but those benefits may come with a cost to the patient's sex life, researchers have found.

At the 35th Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Milan, Italy, French researchers reported on one of the few studies to investigate the impact of cancer therapy on the sexual functioning of patients.

Dr Yohann Loriot and Dr Thomas Bessede from Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France and colleagues found that patients taking targeted therapies had significantly decreased levels of sexual function and satisfaction.

"The new molecular targeted therapies have been available for 6 or 7 years and researchers and physicians have observed some new side-effects not often reported with chemotherapy such as cutaneous side-effects and gastro-intestinal toxicity. But very few studies have been conducted in the field of sexuality, mainly because patients are not willing to talk with their physicians on this topic," Dr Loriot said.

The researchers surveyed 51 patients (40 men and 11 women) who had been taking molecular targeted therapies for more than three months without progressive disease about changes in their sexual life.

The drugs involved were sunitinib, sorafenib, temsirolimus, everolimus, bevacizumab, tarceva and cetuximab. Men completed the International Index of Erectile Function (IEEF) questionnaire --which includes questions on erectile function, intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function, sexual desire and overall satisfaction.

Women in the study completed the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire, which includes questions on desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain.

The median overall IIEF score for men was 40, just 53% of the maximum score. For women, the median FSFI score was 8.4, just 24% of the maximum.

"The sex lives of the patients in our study had reduced quality and intensity," Dr Loriot said. "We also found that more than half of the patients expressed a wish for a satisfying sexuality, but many of them found it difficult to initiate a discussion on the topic with their doctors."

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society for Medical Oncology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Society for Medical Oncology. "Sexual issues a major concern for cancer patients taking new targeted drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101012114216.htm>.
European Society for Medical Oncology. (2010, October 12). Sexual issues a major concern for cancer patients taking new targeted drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101012114216.htm
European Society for Medical Oncology. "Sexual issues a major concern for cancer patients taking new targeted drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101012114216.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins