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Expert Point of View: Karen M. Winkfield, MD, PhD


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Karen M. Winkfield, MD, PhD

Karen M. Winkfield, MD, PhD

Moderator of the session, Karen M. Winkfield, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance in Nashville, underscored the importance of approaching patient survivorship holistically. “As radiation oncologists, it’s vital that we care for all patients in a holistic manner, thinking not only about the treatments we deliver, but being thoughtful about symptom management,” said Dr. Winkfield. “We need to ask about all parts of patients’ well-being, including sexual health.”

According to Dr. Winkfield, body dysmorphism can impact anyone, but it may be especially problematic for patients who have had surgery or radiation. Also, chemotherapy may impact energy and libido or cause other toxicities impacting sexual health, she added.

“I encourage all radiation oncologists to ask their patients about sexual health. Also, creation of a standardized form to broadly apply across disease sites will make this easier,” Dr. Winkfield concluded. “Even if the symptom is not directly related to radiation therapy, we owe it to our patients to see them and treat them holistically.” 

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Winkfield has served as a consultant or advisor to Bristol Myers Squibb, Grail Bio, Merck, and Pfizer.


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