SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • sexual function;
  • cancer;
  • oncology;
  • benign gynaecological conditions;
  • pre-invasive cervical abnormalities

Abstract

Objective

The primary aim of this study was to investigate objective and subjective aspects of sexual adjustment for women with early stage cervical and endometrial cancer during the first 6 months post-treatment, compared to women with benign and pre-invasive gynaecological conditions. ‘Objective’ aspects of sexual function were operationalised as the frequency of sexual activity and ‘subjective’ aspects as the perceived quality of sexual interactions.

Method

This multi-centre controlled study compared sexual outcomes of women treated for early stage cervical and endometrial cancer (n = 53) with (i) benign gynaecological patients (n = 60), as a comparison group for the physical effects of major pelvic surgery, and (ii) pre-invasive cancer patients (n = 52), as a comparison group for the emotional effect of the perceived threat of cancer. All patients were assessed at baseline and at 6 months follow-up using standardised measures of objective and subjective aspects of sexual function, overall satisfaction with sexual life, relationship satisfaction and psychological distress.

Results

Despite experiencing treatment-related physical changes, women with early stage cervical and endometrial cancer did not report more severe or longer-lasting sexual sequelae than the benign or pre-invasive groups. There were no significant differences between the three groups or changes over time for the objective, subjective or overall measures of sexual function, controlling for age, psychological distress and relationship satisfaction.

Conclusion

The current findings suggest that early stage cervical and endometrial cancer patients fare as well as benign and pre-invasive cancer groups in terms of sexual adjustment over the 6 months post-treatment. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.