Sexual concerns in lung cancer patients: An examination of predictors and moderating effects of age and gender

Jennifer Barsky Reese, Rebecca A. Shelby, Amy P. Abernethy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: Sexual concerns are understudied and undertreated for patients with lung cancer. Objectives were to: (1) assess sexual concerns in lung cancer patients and examine differences by age and gender; (2) examine stability of sexual concerns over time; and (3) evaluate whether sexual concerns in lung cancer patients are significantly related to physical and emotional symptoms. Materials and methods: Data were collected from lung cancer patients during four outpatient clinic visits over 6 months. Measures included sexual concerns (reduced sexual enjoyment, interest, or performance), fatigue (FACIT Fatigue Scale), shortness of breath, and emotional distress (acute distress, despair; Patient Care Monitor). Linear mixed model analyses were conducted. Results: Sexual concerns were common, with 52% of patients reporting at least mild sexual concerns and were stable. Sexual concerns were significantly associated with physical and emotional symptoms; particularly strong relationships were found between sexual concerns and shortness of breath and emotional distress. Age moderated the relationship between both fatigue and shortness of breath and sexual concerns; gender moderated the relationship between emotional distress and sexual concerns. Conclusions: Self-reported sexual concerns are common in people with lung cancer, are stable, and are related significantly to physical and emotional symptoms; age and gender influence the distress associated with sexual symptoms in this population. Better attention to patient concerns, treatment, and more research are clearly needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-165
Number of pages5
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Lung cancer
  • Physiological
  • Quality of life
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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