Introduction. For early-stage cervical cancer, treatment with radical surgery appears effective with excellent survival. However, the treatment is associated with significant morbidities. Sexual dysfunction is the leading cause of symptom-induced distress after the treatments for early-stage cervical cancer. There has been no study that evaluates the effect of surgical treatments for cervical cancer on sexual function in the Eastern/Asian patients.
Aim. To examine the effect of radical hysterectomy on postoperative sexual function in women with early-stage cervical cancer.
Main Outcome Measures. The visual analog score on seven aspects of sexual function: overall satisfaction with sexual intercourse, sexual desire, vaginal lubrication, vaginal elasticity, orgasmic satisfaction, patient-perceived partner satisfaction, and associated anxiety.
Methods. Thirty patients with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage IB cervical cancer undergoing radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy at the Chiang Mai University Hospital were recruited. All of the patients were interviewed by questionnaire on sexual function at preoperative hospital admission and then at 3 and 6 months after surgery. Relevant clinical and pathologic data were also prospectively collected.
Results. The mean age of the patients was 45.3 ± 6 years (range 28–59). Seven (23%) of the patients were postmenopausal. Almost all (97%) had FIGO stage IB1 disease. Fourteen (46.7%) patients had bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and one (3.3%) patient had unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Squamous-cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma were diagnosed in 83% and 17%, respectively. At 3 and 6 months after operation, 63% and 93% of the patients had sexual intercourse, respectively. Considering the overall sexual satisfaction, the patient-rated visual analog score appeared comparable at preoperative and 6-month postoperative assessment (4.2 ± 2.5 vs. 3.6 ± 2.2, P > 0.05).
Conclusion. Radical hysterectomy using the current technique has a minimal short-term impact on sexual function. A comparative study with long-term follow-up would provide clearer information on permanent effect of radical hysterectomy on sexual function. Jongpipan J, and Charoenkwan K. Sexual function after radical hysterectomy for early-stage cervical cancer. J Sex Med 2007;4:1659–1665.