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Breast cancer therapies that can save a woman’s life can seriously harm her sexual wellness, says Dr. Kristin E. Rojas, a breast cancer surgeon at Sylvester Complete Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller College of Medicine. Despite the fact that physicians have not historically been ready to assist individuals handle these toxic side effects, Rojas is top efforts to turn the tide.

Rojas, each a fellowship-educated breast surgical oncologist and a gynecologic surgeon, is a national leader in treating sexual dysfunction in female individuals undergoing cancer remedy. Other, extra broadly recognized side effects of lifesaving estrogen-blocking drugs – also recognized as endocrine therapy – contain challenges with pregnancy arranging for premenopausal individuals and decreased bone mineralization. According to Rojas, all 3 of these subjects should really be addressed as early as achievable when arranging a course of therapy for a breast cancer patient with an estrogen-sensitive tumor.

Rojas will recognize dangers posed by endocrine therapies, define symptoms and talk about remedy selections in a presentation at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“By employing endocrine therapy to treat hormone-constructive breast cancers, we’re placing numerous young females into menopause, but we’re not carrying out a good job preparing them for it,” mentioned Rojas, who designed a system to address women’s sexual wellness following cancer remedy, the Menopause Urogenital Sexual Wellness and Intimacy Clinic (MUSIC) at Sylvester. Faced with unexpectedly higher demand, the clinic required to expand quickly following opening in 2020. Considering that Rojas expanded the system by instruction extra professionals to accommodate this good need to have, the MUSIC system has develop into a prototype for equivalent applications across the nation. It remains the only women’s oncology-focused sexual wellness system led by a dual-educated surgeon in the United States.

Individuals are usually hesitant to bring up sexual wellness difficulties with their providers, and that is why we designed this groundbreaking system exactly where individuals can openly talk about these difficulties in a a single-on-a single survivorship system. If we do not address these popular issues seasoned by extra than 80% of female survivors of cancer, patient adherence to endocrine remedy decreases, and the progress we have created in enhancing breast cancer survival is impeded.”

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

Rojas’ ASCO presentation will assist providers anticipate and treat the most popular side effects seasoned by individuals on endocrine therapy (or estrogen-blocking drugs), formulate a customized remedy strategy, guide individuals toward proof-primarily based practices and away from potentially dangerous “fringe” therapies, and troubleshoot popular pitfalls encountered in the remedy of menopausal symptoms.

Amongst distinct subjects:

  • Hot flashes – causes, triggers and therapies.
  • Vaginal dryness and painful sex – causes, irritants, and modifications to the vaginal microbiome.
  • Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) – causes, therapies, lubricants, devices and medication selections.
  • Merchandise, “therapies” and devices to keep away from.
  • Infertility danger and selections for fertility preservation.
  • Lowered bone mineralization and improved fracture danger – monitoring and prevention tactics.

Rojas’ presentation is component of a session she will chair: “A Juggling Act: Managing the Toxicity of Estrogen Deprivation for Individuals With Breast Cancer,” Education Session E451. It will commence at eight a.m. June five, 2023 (CDT), component of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.


University of Miami Wellness Technique, Miller College of Medicine

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