Can you ask? We just did! Assessing sexual function and concerns in patients presenting for initial gynecologic oncology consultation

Vanessa A Kennedy, Emily Abramsohn, Jennifer Makelarski, Rachel Barber, Kristen Wroblewski, Meaghan Tenney, Nita Karnik Lee, S. Diane Yamada, Stacy Tessler Lindau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives. To describe patterns of response to, and assess sexual function and activity elicited by, a selfadministered assessment incorporated into a new patient intake form for gynecologic oncology consultation. Methods. A cross-sectional study of patients presenting to a single urban academic medical center between January 2010 and September 2012. New patients completed a self-administered intake form, including six brief sexual activity and function items. These items, along with abstracted medical record data, were descriptively analyzed. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between sexual activity and function and disease status, adjusting for age. Results.Median agewas 50 years (range 18-91,N=499);more than half had a final diagnosis of cancer.Most patients completed all sex-related items on the intake form; 98% answered at least one. Among patients who were sexually active in the prior 12 months (57%with cancer, 64% with benign disease), 52% indicated on the intake form having, during that period, a sexual problem lasting several months or more. Of these, 15% had physician documentation of the sexual problem. Eighteenwomenwere referred for care. Providers reported no patient complaints about the inclusion of sexual items on the intake form. Conclusions. Nearly all new patients presenting for gynecologic oncology consultation answered selfadministered items to assess sexual activity and function. Further study is needed to determine the role of pretreatment identification of sexual function concerns in improving sexual outcomes associated with cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Gynecologic neoplasms
  • Sexual function
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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