Do young adults with cancer receive information about treatment-related impact on sex life? Results from a population-based study

Charlotta Bergström, Claudia Lampic, Ricky Roy, Christel Hedman, Johan Ahlgren, Olof Ståhl, Karin E. Smedby, Kristina Hellman, Roger Henriksson, Lars E. Eriksson, Lena Wettergren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sexual dysfunction is common following a cancer diagnosis in young adulthood (18–39 years) and problems related to sex life are ranked among the core concerns in this age group. Yet, few studies have investigated to what extent adults younger than 40, receive information from healthcare providers about the potential impact of cancer and its treatment on their sex life. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional survey study was conducted with 1010 young adults 1.5 years after being diagnosed with cancer (response rate 67%). Patients with breast, cervical, ovarian and testicular cancer, lymphoma, and brain tumors were identified in national quality registries. Sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with receiving information were examined using multivariable binary logistic regression. Results: Men to a higher extent than women reported having received information about potential cancer-related impact on their sex life (68% vs. 54%, p < 0.001). Receipt of information varied across diagnoses; in separate regression models, using lymphoma as reference, both women and men with brain tumors were less likely to receive information (women: OR 0.10, CI = 0.03–0.30; men: OR 0.37, CI = 0.16–0.85). More intensive treatment was associated with higher odds of receiving information in both women (OR 1.89; CI = 1.28–2.79) and men (OR 2.08; CI = 1.09–3.94). None of the sociodemographic factors were associated with receipt of information. Conclusions: To improve sexual health communication to young adults with cancer, we recommend diagnosis-specific routines that clarify when in the disease trajectory to discuss these issues with patients and what to address in these conversations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9893-9901
JournalCancer Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology

Free keywords

  • communication
  • health personnel
  • neoplasms
  • sexual dysfunction
  • young adult


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