Many patients undergoing treatment for prostate cancer have no support for sexual and emotional issues, according to survey results presented at the UK Imaging & Oncology (UKIO) Conference in Liverpool.
Therapeutic radiographer Sam Greenwood-Wilson of the University of Liverpool said research indicates that many U.K. patients don't receive adequate information about treatment-induced sexual dysfunction before, during, and after radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. The pilot study found that 43% of patients who responded did not receive any information and support at all.
"This is the first study in the U.K. to focus on sexual dysfunction information given to prostate cancer patients undergoing external beam radiotherapy. This study suggests that the level of information given to patients is poor," he told UKIO delegates.
The researchers worked with patient support groups affiliated with Prostate Cancer UK to identify patients who had undergone external beam radiotherapy within the previous 10 years. A total of 56 patients, ages ranging from 55 to over 85, fulfilled the criteria and were invited to complete online questionnaires.
"We need to reassess how we inform patients, so that no one goes through external beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer without being given the option to fully know the sexual and psychological implications, and that they know who to contact for specialist support," Greenwood-Wilson said.