Women suffering from lung cancer were likely to experience sexual dysfunction, claimed recent research. This study was presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) World Conference on Lung Cancer 2022.
Led by MD Narjust Florez, associate director for the Cancer Care Equity Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the US, the findings of this study point toward differences in sexual desire/interest and vaginal pain/discomfort when comparing before and after lung cancer diagnosis.
“Sexual dysfunction is prevalent in women with lung cancer, and we need to remember that sexual health is related to the quality of life. Sexual health should be integrated into thoracic oncology and further research is necessary to develop tailored interventions for patients with lung cancer,” said Florez while speaking on the results of this Sexual Health Assessment in Women with Lung Cancer (SHAWL) study.
The survey for the study was carried out between June 2020 and June 2021 with 249 women participants who were dealing with lung cancer.
Of the total participants, m64 percent had stage IV lung cancer and 45 percent were receiving targeted therapy with 87 percent of those taking the medication for over six months.
The participants were asked questions about their sexual life before being diagnosed with lung cancer and how it had been in the “past 30 days”.
Within the prior 30 days, 53 percent of participants had sexual activity with themselves or someone else. Around 77 percent of participants reported little to no interest in sexual activity while 67 percent said that they rarely or never wanted to have sexual activity
The survey showed that the most common reasons that negatively affected the participant’s sex life were fatigue, shortness of breath, feeling unhappy and other issues with partners.
“Patients whose sexual health is addressed have a better quality of life, better pain control, and better relationships with their partners and their healthcare team,” said Florez.
Other factors highlighted by the study also added that sexual desire and interest lessened in women due to vaginal pain and discomfort.