Most oncologists experienced some form of sexual harassment last year, study finds

Throughout the past year, 70 percent of oncologists surveyed reported some form of sexual harassment by their peers or superiors, according to findings recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

For the study, researchers evaluated the prevalence and types of sexual harassment experienced by oncologists in the past year, according to the findings published May 28. A total of 250 practicing oncologists, and 21 oncology residents/fellows completed the survey, which measured their work experience with three forms of sexual harassment: gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion. 

Sexual harassment by insitutional leaders (peers/superiors) and patients and their families were measured seperately. 

Four findings: 

1. Overall, 70 percent of respondents reported sexual harassment by peers or superiors in the last year, including 80 perecnt of women and 56 percent of men. 

2. Gender harassment was the most commonly experienced form of sexual harassment, with 79 percent of women and 55 percent of men reporting this type. 

3. Unwanted sexual attention was reported by 22 percent of women and 9 percent of men.

4. Sixty-seven percent of women and 35 percent of women reported sexual harassment by patients and/or their families, with gender harassment being the most common form. 

"This is the first study in oncology to systematically characterize the incidence of sexual harassment experienced by oncologists," researchers wrote, adding that it "provides critical data to inform the need for and design of effective protective and preventive workplace policies in oncology."

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