Urinary incontinence in gynecological oncology patients


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Giuseppe Del Priore, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York Downtown Hospital, 170 Williams St., New York, NY 10467, USA. Email: info@cancerandfertility.org


Abstract.  Del Priore G, Taylor SY, Esdaile BA, Masch R, Martas Y, Wirth J. Urinary incontinence in gynecological oncology patients. Int J Gynecol Cancer 2005;15:911–914.

The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence and significance of urinary incontinence (UI) symptoms in gynecological oncology (GO) patients and to test the gynecologists' proficiency in eliciting these symptoms. A prospective survey using questionnaires was designed. Two faculty practice offices in the United States were chosen for the study. Forty GO patients and 40 general gynecology patients were selected from the most recent outpatient appointments of the two hospitals. We used the Urogenital Distress Inventory and the Incontinence Impact Questionnaire to elicit UI symptoms in GO patients and compared the results with their medical records. A control group, selected from a general gynecological practice, was included for comparison. The main outcome measures were to investigate the prevalence and detection rates of UI in GO patients. GO patients were significantly more likely to report UI symptoms on the questionnaire than their gynecologist was able to elicit during a consultation (P < 0.001). The survey found that 60% (24/40) of the GO patients reported at least one symptom of UI, with 23% complaining of “severe” symptoms. Of those patients who reported the symptoms on questionnaire, only 5% (2/40) were detected at the initial physician assessment (P < 0.01). Eighteen percent of the GO patients reported that the UI symptoms adversely affected their quality of life. The prevalence of symptoms was not associated with the primary cancer site. There was no difference in detection rates between the two practice settings. In a multivariate analysis, there was no factor that emerged as the best discriminator for a positive response to the questionnaire. A significant proportion of GO patients report severe UI symptoms that are not detected by gynecologic oncologists or gynecologists during routine consultations.