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Are sexual dysfimctions part of integrated consultation of Austrian's psycho-oncologists from various disciplines ? Self-assessment-results at the annual meeting auf Austrian psychooncologists, Gmunden, May 2017

Ucsnik, L1; Krammer-Wasserrab, C2; Kottmel, A.3; Körbel, TH1; Bitzer, J4; Teleky, B1; Schratter-Sehn, A.U.5

1: Medical University Vienna, Austria; 2: Austrian Academy for Psychooncologists, Austria; 3: Private Practice for Gynecology and Sexual Medicine, Austria; 4: Private Practise, Switzerland; 5: Public Hospital Sout-Ost, Viennies Hospital Chain Ltd, Head of Dpt f. Radiotherapy, Austrian Society for Psychooncology, Austria

Introduction: Cancer has a huge impact on patients’ sexuality, intimacy and quality of life and thus raise needs in best supportive cancer care also provided by psycho-oncologists. Thus we analyzed whether these health professionals integrate sexual issues cancer treatment and survivorship in Austria.

Method: At the annual meeting of the Austrian society of psycho-oncologists, May 2017, 57 of 118 participants (doctors, nurses, psychotherapists) self-assessed the integration of patients’ sexuality in daily treatment via 24-item-questionnaire proven by the ethics committee of Vienna’s medical university.

Results: 79% of them were female, 30% aged 40-50 and 26% 50 – 60 years, 14% each 20-30 and 30-40 years. 46% work in private hospital, 32% in practice, 21% in private hospital. 7% of the psycho-oncologists address sexuality in 100% of the patients, 39% in up to 20%, 23% not at all. 19% rated that patients did not address the topic, 63% rated up to 20% of the patients do this, 4% assessed that 100% of the patients mentioned dysfunction. 33% suggested up to 20% patients have problems without mentioning, each 18% of the health professionals assessed 40-60% and 60-80% of the patients have irritations/ problems. Reasons for not mentioning by the patients were suggested: to 65% other topics were more important, 35% had lack of time, 28% barrier of language, 19% patient’s culture, 16% topic was embarrassing. 79% of the health professionals considered the topic being best addressed with certain diagnoses, 58% in andro-/menopause, 54% before surgery, 51% after surgery, 54% in rehabilitation, 35% in control examinations, 30% in context with pain-check-ups. The help offered is information on physiology of sexual function (32%), couple consultation (33%), referral to medical specialist (40%), psychotherapy (37%), evaluation of medication’s impact on sexual function (32%). 5% participated in 1-2day-course training in sexual medicine.

Conclusion: 23% of the participating Austrian psycho-oncologists didn’t talk about sexual dysfunction at all, each 18% suggest 40-60 and 60-80% of the patients having troubled sexuality without addressing it. Psycho-oncologists originating from nursing didn’t feel responsible for this issue at all. There’s a need for specific training-concepts for Austrian psycho-oncologists in order to hopefully increase sexual medicine competence, integration in daily consultation and thus positively influence patients living with cancer.


Work supported by industry: no.

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