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2017 Palliative Care Symposium: Sexual Dysfunction Intervention for HCT Survivors

By: Susan Reckling
Posted: Monday, October 30, 2017

A multimodal intervention to address sexual dysfunction in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) survivors may improve sexual function, quality of life, and mood. The results of this pilot study were presented by Areej El-Jawahri, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, at the 2017 Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium in San Diego (Abstract 191).

Transplant clinicians assessed approximately 150 HCT survivors 3 months after transplantation, with approximately one-third of patients screening positive for sexual dysfunction causing distress. Of the 50 patients, 47 agreed to participate in the study, attending monthly intervention visits with trained study clinicians. These visits focused on assessing sexual dysfunction, educating and empowering patients to address this topic, and implementing therapeutic interventions. 

Dr. El-Jawahri and colleagues reported significant improvement in patients’ satisfaction and interest in sex as well as sexual function, including orgasm, erectile function, lubrication, and vaginal discomfort. In fact, 6 of 10 patients who were not sexually active prior to the intervention became sexually active afterward. In addition, improvement in quality of life and a trend toward lower depression were reported.