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Keywords:

  • Cancer;
  • head and neck cancer;
  • sexuality;
  • sexual dysfunction;
  • Level of Evidence: 4

Abstract

Objectives/Hypothesis:

Evaluate sexual dysfunction in patients after treatment for head and neck cancer.

Study Design:

Single-institution cross-sectional study.

Methods:

Our modified Sexual Adjustment Questionnaire was administered to 42 patients (mean age, 55.1 years) and included seven questions (total score, 7–35). Based on sexual satisfaction ratings, we categorized three groups as unsatisfied (7–16), satisfied (17–25), and very satisfied (26–35). Clinical information was obtained by reviewing medical records. Bivariate analysis tested associations between sexual satisfaction and patient-related factors (e.g., sex, age, site/cancer stage, treatment, time between treatment and survey, partner, alcohol/tobacco consumption). Pearson correlation was used to analyze two continuous variables, and multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the independent impact of each factor.

Results:

All 42 patients rated that head and neck cancer negatively impacted their sexual relationships, including 21 (50%) rating effects as negative or extremely negative. Men reported higher satisfaction scores with sexual function (mean ± standard deviation) than women (19.9 ± 5.0 vs. 16.3 ± 6.5, respectively; P = .06). Respondents with partners reported higher scores than those without partners (19.9 ± 5.3 vs. 14.1 ± 4.4, respectively; P = .01). When the survey was administered (median, 12 months; range, 4–33 months) after the first treatment, mean score was 19; 57% of respondents were sexually satisfied, 31% were unsatisfied, and 12% were very satisfied. Instrument reliability was .82 (Cronbach alpha).

Conclusions:

Patients who are male and ≤60 years have a higher probability of sexual satisfaction during recovery. Our sexual dysfunction questionnaire will be administered in further prospective studies in patients with head and neck cancer. Laryngoscope, 2012