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Women with Colorectal and Anal Cancer Need Sexual Support

Women with Colorectal and Anal Cancer Need Sexual SupportUnderstanding the sexual impact of treatment is important for women with colorectal and anal cancer, and support is essential, experts report in a recent Sexual Medicine Reviews study.

The term colorectal cancer refers to cancers of the colon (the large intestine) and the rectum (the lower portion of the large intestine). Anal cancer affects the anus, the area connected to the rectum that allows waste to pass out of the body.

Treatments for these cancers may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these approaches. Patients might need a stoma (an opening in the abdomen) so that their waste can pass into a special collection bag.

After treatment, many women feel less desire for sex, experience poor arousal, and have difficulty reaching orgasm. Pain and vaginal dryness are common. Some women struggle with poor body image, feeling less feminine and less attractive. Anxiety may also be an issue. A woman may worry about her partner’s response to a waste bag or whether the bag will leak during intimacy.

To learn more about women’s experiences with sexuality following colorectal and anal cancer treatment, researchers conducted a two-part study.

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