The Impact of Gynecological Cancer on Reproductive Issues and Pregnancy:Psychological Implications
Maria C. Canavarro,
Raquel Sofia Antunes Pires.
Gynecological cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer among women. Over the past few decades, the growing number of survivors has been forced to cope with the consequences of the disease. Of these consequences, the impact of cancer on reproduction has been receiving increasing attention. Research shows that the health care of these women poses challenges other than medical ones. Although the inclusion of psychologists in health care teams has been particularly valued, studies focusing on the psychological implications of the impact of gynecological cancer on reproduction are scarce. Therefore, the first aim of this review is to critically reflect on the psychological implications of infertility, decision-making regarding childbirth, and pregnancy in the context of gynecological cancer. The second purpose of this review is to provide practice guidelines that account for the specificities and demands of these patients. Our findings suggest that gynecological cancer entails specific emotional and decisional challenges regarding reproductive issues, highlighting the importance of specialized psychological interventions with patients and their families. Providing emotional support and education about sexual and reproductive difficulties, supporting decisionmaking about fertility preservation and childbirth, promoting adjustment to cancer during pregnancy and supporting transition to motherhood are the main areas of intervention suggested. A multidisciplinary treatment approach also seems to be essential, and the role of psychological teams can be particularly important because these professionals may enlighten and encourage skills in other health care providers.
Keywords: Decision-making, gynecological cancer, infertility, pregnancy, psychological impact, women's health, Cancer-Related Infertility, Cancer During Pregnancy, Childbirth, carcinomas
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