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Do experienced colorectal surgeons from Europe, America and Asia integrate sexual problems in daily cancer management -results from a self-assessing survey at Congress of the European Federation for ColoRectal Cancer, Vienna, April 2017

Ucsnik, L1; Kührer, I2; Kottmela, A3; Körbel, TH4; Bitzer, J5; Teleky, B6

1: Medical University Vienna, Clin.Univ.f.Surgery, Austria; 2: Medical University Vienna, Clin.Univ.f.Surgery, Austria, Secretary General, European Federation for ColoRectal Cancer; 3: Private Practice in Gynecology and Sexual Medicine, Austria; 4: Medical University Vienna, Austria; 5: Private Practice, Switzerland; 6: Medical University Vienna, Clin.Univ.f.Surgery, AustriaMedical University Vienna, Clin.Univ.f.Surgery, Austria, President, European Federation for ColoRectal Cancer, European Federation for ColoRectal Cancer

Introduction: Colorectal cancer patients’ body function including sexual function can be troubled due to treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation-therapy which reduces long-term quality of life in cancer-patients show scientific results.

Method: Thus at the Congress of the European Federation for Colorectal Cancer colorectal surgeons from Europe, America and Asia were asked to self-assess the integration of patients’ sexuality in colorectal treatment in April 2017.

Results: 47 of 200 questionnaires were filled in by colorectal surgeons (return rate 23,5%) – 60% male, 26% female, 40% professionally active in university hospital, 38% in public hospital, 13% in private hospital, 40% clinically experienced more than 21 years, 21% 6-10, 13% 11-20 years, 6% 2-5, 4% less than 4 years. 38% of the colorectal surgeons asked up to 20% of the cancer patients about sexual irritations/problems, 19% up to 100%, each 11% 60-80, 20-40 and no patients at all. 66% of the surgeons assessed being asked by the patients, 6% not at all, 19% by 20-40% of the patients, only 2% by all of their patients. Each 23% of the doctors suggest up to 20% and 20-40% of the patients, 28% 40-60& of the patients having troubled sexuality, 2% no impact at all. Reasons why patients don’t address the topic are suggested: embarrassement by the topic (55%), age (38%), each 34% other topics more important, lack of time, 30% culture. Point of times in treatment addressing the issue best are considered: before surgery (74%), after surgery (47%), concrete diagnose (43%), control examination (38%). Colorectal surgeons do preferably refer patients to: urologists (60%), physical therapists (34%), andrologists (32%), gynecologist (30%), psychotherapists (21%). Support offered was referral to specialists (45%), information on physiology of sexual function (28%). None of them had sexual medicine specific training.

Conclusion: The participants were experienced in the field of colorectal onco-surgery. Only 11 % did not ask the patients about sexual dysfunction, 19% asked all of their cancer patients. Only 21-40% of the patients could be helped by 28% of the colorectal surgeons concerning their sexual problems. There’s a need for established specific appointments for sexual dysfunction in colorectal cancer patients in public and in university hospitals. Due to these preliminary results further investigations should be made with bigger population-sizes.


Work supported by industry: no.

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