Conference Coverage

VIDEO: Sex, intimacy part of history in gynecologic oncology care



NATIONAL HARBOR, MD.– Cancer care can feel like a sequence of crises, large and small; a comprehensive cancer care approach can keep the patient at the center of this flurry of events. But understanding a patient’s sexual history and assessing how a gynecologic malignancy has affected that patient’s sexual health can, too often, get lost in the shuffle, said Don Dizon, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

“I think there are multiple reasons for that, but it has to be the job of the clinician – not necessarily the oncologist-physician – but somebody has to be able to say, ‘What is your sexual history? Can I ask about your sexual history?’ ” he said in a video interview at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.

Dr. Dizon, director of the Oncology Sexual Health Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital*, emphasized the importance of providing sensitive sexual health care while staying true to one’s own framework of care. “I teach clinicians not to run away from their schema,” he said. “Having said that, the job of a clinician is to normalize the history, and to normalize that sex, intimacy, relationships are a part of someone’s history.”

Dr. Dizon sits on the board of the Patty Brisben Foundation and the Young Survival Coalition.

On Twitter @karioakes

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