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Sexuality and Reproductive Issues (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - The Prevalence and Types of Sexual Dysfunction in People With Cancer


In a different population—that of male lymphoma survivors—a cross-sectional study of 15-year survivors of both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma compared sexual function and hormone levels with those of age-matched controls.[22] Overall, the authors concluded that sexual function (as measured by the Brief Sexual Function Inventory [BSFI]) was significantly worse in the lymphoma survivors than in controls. In univariate analysis, lower functioning was attributed to the following:

  • Increased age.
  • Lower testosterone.
  • Higher luteinizing hormone.
  • Greater fatigue and emotional distress.
  • At least one comorbidity.

There are several cautions in interpreting these results:

  • The types of comorbidities are not listed; hence, it is not known whether cardiovascular disease was prevalent.
  • Multivariate analyses to look at the relative impact of the various contributing factors to lower functioning were not performed.
  • Considering the overall mean scores, the BSFI subscale scores were neither that low nor that different from the scores of controls (a difference of <0.5) even though they were statistically significantly different, likely because of the large sample size.

Although the authors concluded that sexual function was worse, it was only slightly worse; however, it reached statistical significance. Therefore, it is not clear from this study how much sexual functioning contributed to distress or decreased quality of life.[22]


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Last Updated: September 04, 2014
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