Erectile Dysfunction After Colorectal CA Poorly Managed

Most patients do not receive adequate information, diagnosis, or treatment

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Most men who experience erectile dysfunction after treatment for colorectal cancer feel profound distress, do not receive adequate information, and often feel they have been treated poorly by clinicians, according to a study published online Oct. 18 in BMJ.

George Dowswell, Ph.D., from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated the experiences and unmet needs of men who develop erectile dysfunction following treatment for colorectal cancer. Participants included 28 men (mean age, 59 years) treated for colorectal cancer, who completed a semistructured, qualitative interview on their experiences and perspectives.

The investigators found that erectile dysfunction caused profound distress for the majority of the men. Most did not receive sufficient information, diagnosis, or treatment. In many cases, the men felt they had inadvertently been neglected, misled, or offended by clinicians, which could be improved by better training. More consistent and coordinated care could be facilitated by reorganization of services. Clinicians should be aware of three things: making assumptions about the sexual behavior or motivation of older men may cause offense; phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors are not a cure; and most men do not ask for help with erectile dysfunction.

"More tailored and coordinated care could be provided for patients with erectile dysfunction. Colorectal clinical nurse specialists are well placed to give information, coordinate treatment, and monitor progress, but such an intervention needs to be developed and fully evaluated," the authors write.

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