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ORIGINAL RESEARCH—COUPLES' SEXUAL DYSFUNCTIONS: Unsuccessful Investigation of Preoperative Sexual Health Issues in the Prostate Cancer “Couple”: Results of a Real-Life Psychometric Survey at a Major Tertiary Academic Center


Andrea Salonia, MD, Urology, Universita' Vita Salute San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan. Tel: 00390226437286; Fax: 00390226437298; E-mail:


Introduction.  Investigating preoperative sexual function of patients with prostate cancer (PCa) and their partners is needed for realistic functional outcome analyses after radical prostatectomy (RP).

Aim.  To assess pre-RP sexual health issues of PCa patients and their partners in a stable heterosexual relationship.

Methods.  Data were analyzed from 3,282 consecutive patients who underwent RP over a three-period survey. During Period 1, on admission to the hospital the day prior to surgery, 1,360 patients were asked to complete the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF). During Period 2, 1,171 patients were asked to complete the preoperative IIEF; similarly, patients' partners were invited to complete the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Lastly, during Period 3, only candidates for RP were asked to fill in the IIEF.

Main Outcome Measures.  To assess the rate of patients who completed the questionnaire during the three-period survey. To detail the proportion of patients' partners who filled in the questionnaire, along with the partners' reasons for non-adherence to the proposed investigation during Period 2.

Results.  A small rate of men completed the IIEF during Period 1 (583 in 1,360 [42.9%]), Period 2 (290 in 1,171 [24.8%]), and Period 3 (261 in 751 [34.8%]) (χ2 trend: 13.06; P = 0.0003). In this context, a significantly lower proportion of patients completed the questionnaire during Period 2, as compared with both Period 1 (χ2: 95.13; P = 0.0001) and Period 3 (χ2: 21.87; P < 0.0001). Only 82 in 1,171 (7.0%) partners completed the FSFI over Period 2. Moreover, only 6 in 82 (7.3%) of women provided complete data.

Conclusions.  The investigation of sexual health issues of both partners prior to RP is largely unsuccessful. In this context, the prevalence of incomplete data collection is high, and these results demonstrate that contemporaneously investigating the sexual health issues of both partners significantly increases the prevalence of incomplete data collection. Salonia A, Zanni G, Gallina A, Briganti A, Saccà A, Suardi N, Matloob R, Da Pozzo LF, Bertini R, Colombo R, Rigatti P, and Montorsi F. Unsuccessful investigation of preoperative sexual health issues in the prostate cancer “couple”: results of a real-life psychometric survey at a major tertiary academic center. J Sex Med 2009;6:3347–3355.