Preserving sexual function after bone marrow transplant
1: Royal Women's Hospital, Australia
Objective: To preserve sexual function after bone marrow transplant. Women with haematological cancers are frequently rendered menopausal by chemotherapy. Untreated this results in vasomotor symptoms insomnia, low mood, low libido and genito-urinary syndrome of menopause including dry vagina. In addition women who have allogenic bone marrow transplants are susceptible to Graft-Versus-Host-Disease (GVHD). When this affects the genital tract, sexual function can be difficult or impossible especially when vaginal stenosis occurs. The Menopause Symptoms after Cancer clinic at the Royal Women’s Hospital provides management of menopausal symptoms as well as gynaecological surveillance for women after cancer. A protocol has been developed for haematological cancer follow-up designed particularly for the early detection and treatment of GVHD. Many opportunities exist for the discussion of sexual issues during the consultations. This can aid detection and treatment of GVHD. Furthermore it can open up opportunities for improving quality of life with sex and relationship therapy via the Sexual Counselling Clinic (RWH)
Methods: Review of the protocol and patient consultations via correspondence has led to suggestions for the introduction of the topic of sexual function into the medical consultation leading to seamless integration of medical and psychological issues
Results: There has been increased recognition of sexual difficulties after cancer and increased time spent in discussion.
Conclusion: Raising awareness of sexual and relationship issues improves the quality of the consultation for doctor and patient
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