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Discussing sex after cancer treatment

Many women who survive breast or gynecologic cancers say they want help for sexual issues, but few of them actually ask for it, according to a new study from the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Few doctors have the expertise to discuss women's concerns about the effect of cancer on their sexuality, although doctors routinely bring up such questions among men treated for prostate cancer, senior author Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said in a medical center news release.

"It is critical that physicians caring for (female) cancer patients know that sexual concerns are often physical," she said. "The physical problems associated with cancer treatment can strain relationships, cause worry and stress, and can be very isolating. Many women come to us feeling ashamed, guilty or alone. They feel like the problem is primarily in their head."

Pain, vaginal dryness, loss of desire, arousal and orgasm difficulties, and body image concerns are among the sexual problems experienced by these patients. - HealthDay

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