Coping with sexual concerns after cancer

Jennifer Barsky Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: This review presents an overview of recent developments in research examining coping with the effects of cancer treatment on sexuality. Recent Findings: A search was conducted using PubMed and Web of Knowledge to find papers published or in press in 2010. Papers examining coping efforts, effects of cancer treatment in special populations (e.g., advanced cancer, non-western populations), or on broad dimensions of sexuality, and psychosocial and physiological intervention studies addressing sexual issues in cancer were included. Findings underscore the complex effects of treatments (e.g., hormonal therapy for prostate cancer) on patients' sexuality. Studies suggest that successful coping efforts often occur within the context of the relationship and frequently include a process of adjusting one's concept of sexual function and activity through shifting to thoughts and behaviors that center on intimacy and sexual activities other than intercourse (e.g., 'flexible coping'). Summary: Results confirm the importance of sexual issues to individuals with cancer and argue for more research on sexual effects of cancer treatment in understudied populations and further empirical studies examining coping with sexual concerns after cancer. Clinical implications include the need for providers to address the broader range of sexual effects of treatments beyond sexual performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent opinion in oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • cancer
  • coping
  • sexual function
  • sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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