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Sexual function in patients with cancer

The impairments induced by surgery, chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatment on sexual function and fertility need to be discussed with every patient.

In younger patients, ceasing ovarian function and loss of fertility are the main concerns,for postmenopausal women probably the loss of the remaining androgen activity of the postmenopausal ovary plays an important role.

Physicians should be aware that sexuality is an important quality of life factor and should therefore discuss possible treatment side effects with the patient.

From an oncological point of view, local or even systemic estrogens can be considered as safe for most of the gynecologic oncology patients. Besides local therapies,physical therapy and exercise are supportive.

Treatment side effects on fertility depend on the patient's age, stage of disease, the choice of chemotherapeutic agents or radiation therapy, and finally on the individual's sensitivity of the ovary.Information about different options for fertility protection and contact data of fertility centers can be obtained from the network FertiPROTECT (

CME Prakt Fortbild Gynakol Geburtsmed Gynakol Endokrinol 2009; 5(3): 220-230

Sexual function, fertility protection, cancer, estrogens

Juliane Farthmann, Annette Hasenburg
Universitäts-Frauenklinik Freiburg
Reviewer: Nicole Gehrmann, Berlin
und Alexandra Coumbos,Hamburg

Farthmann J. Sexualität ... Gynakol Geburtsmed Gynakol Endokrinol 2009;5(3): 220-230 publiziert 30.11.09 ©akademos Wissenschaftsverlag 2009 ISSN 1614-8533