Introduction. Even though the body of literature on sexual functioning is growing, information on the preoperative sexual functioning and the quality of sexual life after colorectal cancer is lacking. Research focusing on female patients and on partners is also rather scarce.
Aim. This cross-sectional study aimed to describe the preoperative sexual functioning, quality of sexual life, and relationship functioning for male and female colorectal cancer patients and their partners. In addition, the mean scores of the patients and partners were compared with mean norm scores.
Methods. Patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer (N = 136) and their partners (N = 106) were recruited before surgical treatment in six Dutch hospitals.
Main Outcome Measures. Men completed the International Index of Erectile Functioning, while women completed the Female Sexual Function Index. All partnered participants completed the Golombok-Rust Inventory of Sexual Satisfaction and the Maudsley Marital Questionnaire. The mean scores were compared with mean norm scores derived from the manuals of the questionnaires.
Results. All participants were in a heterosexual relationship. Female patients reported a lower quality of sexual life compared with male patients. Male partners reported a lower sexual functioning and a lower quality of sexual life compared with male patients. Colorectal cancer patients and partners (both sexes) reported a lower sexual functioning and a lower quality of sexual life compared with norm populations but scored similar on relationship functioning.
Conclusion. A lower sexual functioning and a lower quality of sexual life are already reported preoperatively; however, relationship functioning was comparable with a norm population. Therefore, all the impairment seen after treatment should not be solely attributed to the effects of treatment. Traa MJ, De Vries J, Roukema JA, and Den Oudsten BL. The preoperative sexual functioning and quality of sexual life in colorectal cancer: A study among patients and their partners. J Sex Med 2012;9:3247–3254.