(HealthDay News) — Women are less likely than men to be evaluated for sexual function after brachytherapy for genitourinary cancers, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), held from Oct. 23 to 26 in San Antonio.
Jamie Takayesu, MD, from the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center in Ann Arbor, and colleagues assessed gender differences in assessment of sexual dysfunction following brachytherapy for genitourinary cancers. The analysis included patients with cervical cancer (126 women) or prostate cancer (75 men) evaluated for brachytherapy between 2010 and 2021.
The researchers found that more men than women were asked about sexual function at the time of consult (89 vs 13%), even though the female cohort was younger (median age, 51 years versus 69 years for men). Among men, rates of assessment of sexual function were similar regardless of whether they were offered androgen deprivation therapy.
“There seems to be a big disparity in the way we approach sexual dysfunction with our patients, where female patients are asked about sexual issues much less often than male patients are,” Takayesu said in a statement. “The only tools that we commonly recommend for women are lubricants and dilators, but even these are not great options. It’s easy for us to prescribe different medications for our male patients, but for our female patients, we don’t have that first step. I think that creates a barrier to bringing these issues up.”