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Early-stage cervical carcinoma, radical hysterectomy, and sexual function
A longitudinal study
Article first published online: 17 NOV 2003
Copyright © 2003 American Cancer Society
Volume 100, Issue 1, pages 97–106, 1 January 2004
How to Cite
Jensen, P. T., Groenvold, M., Klee, M. C., Thranov, I., Petersen, M. Aa. and Machin, D. (2004), Early-stage cervical carcinoma, radical hysterectomy, and sexual function. Cancer, 100: 97–106. doi: 10.1002/cncr.11877
- Issue published online: 17 DEC 2003
- Article first published online: 17 NOV 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 SEP 2003
- Manuscript Revised: 19 SEP 2003
- Manuscript Received: 21 JUL 2003
- Danish Cancer Society. Grant Numbers: PP00007, PP01008
- cervical carcinoma;
- sexual function;
- female sexual dysfunction;
- vaginal changes;
- radical hysterectomy;
- late effects;
Limited knowledge exists concerning the impact of radical hysterectomy (RH) alone on the sexual function of patients with early-stage cervical carcinoma. The authors investigated the longitudinal course of self-reported sexual function after RH.
The current study was comprised of 173 patients with lymph node-negative, early-stage cervical carcinoma who had undergone RH and pelvic lymphadenectomy. They were assessed prospectively using a validated self-assessment questionnaire 5 weeks and 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months after RH. Results were compared with an age-matched control group from the general population.
Compared with control women, patients experienced severe orgasmic problems and uncomfortable sexual intercourse due to a reduced vaginal size during the first 6 months after RH, severe dyspareunia during the first 3 months, and sexual dissatisfaction during the 5 weeks after RH. A persistent lack of sexual interest and lubrication were reported throughout the first 2 years after RH. Long-term lack of sexual interest and insufficient vaginal lubrication were confirmed by the patient's self-reported changes 12 months after RH compared with before the cancer diagnosis and by a pre-post comparison within patients. However, most of the patients who were sexually active before their cancer diagnosis were sexually active again 12 months after surgery (91%), although with a decrease in sexual frequency reported.
RH had a persistent and negative impact on patients' sexual interest and vaginal lubrication whereas the majority of other sexual and vaginal problems disappeared over time. Sexual and vaginal problems in the short-term and long-term after RH should be discussed with the patient before and after surgery. Cancer 2004;100:97–106. © 2003 American Cancer Society.