Sexual concerns are prevalent in women with cancer or cancer history and are a factor in patient decision making about cancer treatment and risk-reduction options. Physical examination of the female cancer patient with sexual concerns, regardless of the type or site of her cancer, is an essential and early component of a comprehensive evaluation and effective treatment plan.
Specialized practices are emerging that focus specifically on evaluation and treatment of women with cancer and sexual function problems. As part of a specialized evaluation, oncologists and their patients should expect a thorough physical examination to identify or rule out physical causes of sexual problems or dysfunction.
This review provides oncology professionals with a description of the physical examination of the female cancer patient with sexual function concerns. This description aims to inform anticipatory guidance for the patient and to assist in interpreting specialists’ findings and recommendations.
In centers or regions where specialized care is not yet available, this review can also be used by oncology practices to educate and support health care providers interested in expanding their practices to treat women with cancer and sexual function concerns.