Objective: Cancer patients often encounter sexual concerns
during the diagnosing, treatment, and recovery phase of their illness.
However, the sexual concerns of these patients are often overlooked. Brain
cancer patients are no exception to this oversight.
Methods: A case report of a 39-year-old patient with a
history of high-grade anaplastic astrocytoma presented to the Sexual
Health Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center complaining
of vaginal discharge and several months of amenorrhea. Although the
patient was administered extensive aggressive antineoplastic treatments,
her disease rapidly progressed.
Results: Despite the patient's terminal illness she
continued to have normal sexual thoughts, feelings, and desires; however,
she had difficulty discussing these issues with her partner and caregiver,
who was her mother. An examination by the sexual medicine gynecologist
noted no clinical signs of genital infections; however, there was minimal
vaginal atrophy. Her sexual health laboratory evaluation was extensively
abnormal. Her treatment consisted of intravaginal non-hormonal
moisturizers and vaginal lubricants, counseling, and sexual education. The
patient successfully engaged in sexual contact with her partner by the
third counseling session.
Significance of Results: Almost all oncology patients have
sexual concerns during or following cancer treatment. These patients
should be referred to comprehensive sexual health programs for treatment,