Core principles of sexual health treatments in cancer for men

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Purpose of reviewThe considerable prevalence of sexual health problems in men after cancer treatment coupled with the severity of impact and challenges to successful intervention make sexual dysfunction one of the most substantial health-related quality of life burdens in all of cancer survivorship. Surgeries, radiation therapies, and nontreatment (e.g., active surveillance) variously result in physical disfigurement, pain, and disruptions in physiological, psychological, and relational functioning. Although biomedical and psychological interventions have independently shown benefit, long-term, effective treatment for sexual dysfunction remains elusive.Recent findingsRecognizing the complex nature of men's sexual health in an oncology setting, there is a trend toward the adoption of a biopsychosocial orientation that emphasizes the active participation of the partner, and a broad-spectrum medical, psychological, and social approach. Intervention research to date provides good insight into the potential active ingredients of successful sexual rehabilitation programming.SummaryCombining a biopsychosocial approach with these active intervention elements forecasts an optimistic future for men's sexual rehabilitation programming within oncology. However, significant gaps remain in our understanding of patient experience and appropriate sexual health intervention for gay men and men of diverse race and culture.

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