Addressing Sexual Health Issues of Breast Cancer Patients on Hormone Therapy

Breast cancer treatments that can save a woman’s life can seriously harm her sexual health, says Dr. Kristin E. Rojas, a breast cancer surgeon at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at Miller School of Medicine in Washington. ‘University of Miami. Although doctors have never been prepared to help patients manage these toxic side effects, Rojas is leading efforts to reverse the trend.

Rojas, a breast surgical oncologist and gynecological surgeon, is a national leader in the treatment of sexual dysfunction in patients undergoing cancer treatment. Other more widely recognized side effects of life-saving estrogen-blocking drugs โ€“ also known as hormone therapy โ€“ include challenges in planning pregnancy for premenopausal patients and reduced bone mineralization. According to Rojas, these three topics need to be addressed as early as possible when planning treatment for a breast cancer patient with an estrogen-responsive tumor.

Rojas will identify the risks posed by endocrine therapies, define symptoms and discuss treatment options during a presentation at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“By using hormone therapy to treat hormone-positive breast cancers, we’re putting a lot of young women into menopause, but we’re not doing a great job of preparing them,” said Rojas, who created a program to address the women’s sexual health. after cancer treatment, the Menopause Sexual and Urogenital Health and Intimacy Clinic (MUSIC) in Sylvester. Faced with surprisingly high demand, the clinic had to expand shortly after opening in 2020. Since Rojas expanded the program by training additional experts to meet this great need, the MUSIC program has become a prototype for programs similar across the country. It remains the only sexual health program focused on women’s oncology led by a dual-trained surgeon in the United States.

Patients are often hesitant to bring up sexual health issues with their providers, which is why we’ve created this groundbreaking program where patients can openly discuss these issues as part of an individual survivorship program. If we don’t address these common concerns experienced by over 80% of cancer survivors, patient adherence to endocrine therapy declines and the progress we have made in improving breast cancer survival is hampered. ยป

Kristin E. Rojas, breast cancer surgeon at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Rojas’ ASCO presentation will help providers anticipate and address the most common side effects experienced by patients on hormone therapy (or estrogen-blocking drugs), formulate a personalized treatment plan, guide patients toward evidence-based practices evidence and move away from potentially harmful “fringe” therapies and troubleshoot common pitfalls encountered in treating menopausal symptoms.

Among the specific topics:

Hot flashes – causes, triggers and treatments. Vaginal dryness and painful sex – causes, irritants and changes in the vaginal microbiome. Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) – causes, treatments, lubricants, devices and medication options. Products, “therapies” and devices to avoid. Risk of infertility and options for fertility preservation. Reduced bone mineralization and increased fracture risk โ€“ monitoring and prevention strategies.

Rojas’ presentation is part of a session she will be chairing: “An act of juggling: managing the toxicity of estrogen deprivation for patients with breast cancer”, educational session E451. It will begin at 8 a.m. on June 5, 2023 (CDT), as part of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.


University of Miami Health System, Miller School of Medicine

Related Article

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button