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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

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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]

References:

  1. Derogatis LR, Kourlesis SM: An approach to evaluation of sexual problems in the cancer patient. CA Cancer J Clin 31 (1): 46-50, 1981 Jan-Feb.
  2. Ganz PA, Rowland JH, Desmond K, et al.: Life after breast cancer: understanding women's health-related quality of life and sexual functioning. J Clin Oncol 16 (2): 501-14, 1998.
  3. Schover LR, Montague DK, Lakin MM: Sexual problems. In: DeVita VT Jr, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds.: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Raven Publishers, 1997, pp 2857-2872.
  4. Andersen BL: Quality of life for women with gynecologic cancer. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol 7 (1): 69-76, 1995.
  5. Walsh PC, Epstein JI, Lowe FC: Potency following radical prostatectomy with wide unilateral excision of the neurovascular bundle. J Urol 138 (4): 823-7, 1987.
  6. Talcott JA, Rieker P, Clark JA, et al.: Patient-reported symptoms after primary therapy for early prostate cancer: results of a prospective cohort study. J Clin Oncol 16 (1): 275-83, 1998.
  7. Smith DS, Carvalhal GF, Schneider K, et al.: Quality-of-life outcomes for men with prostate carcinoma detected by screening. Cancer 88 (6): 1454-63, 2000.
  8. Stanford JL, Feng Z, Hamilton AS, et al.: Urinary and sexual function after radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer: the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study. JAMA 283 (3): 354-60, 2000.
  9. Robinson JW, Moritz S, Fung T: Meta-analysis of rates of erectile function after treatment of localized prostate carcinoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 54 (4): 1063-8, 2002.
  10. Arai Y, Kawakita M, Okada Y, et al.: Sexuality and fertility in long-term survivors of testicular cancer. J Clin Oncol 15 (4): 1444-8, 1997.
  11. Roth AJ, Carter J, Nelson CJ: Sexuality after cancer. In: Holland JC, Breitbart WS, Jacobsen PB, et al., eds.: Psycho-oncology. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2010, pp 245-50.
  12. Lamb MA: Sexuality and Sexual Functioning. In: McCorkle R, Grant M, Frank-Stromborg M, et al., eds.: Cancer Nursing: A Comprehensive Textbook. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co, 1996, pp 1105-1127.
  13. Ofman US, Auchincloss SS: Sexual dysfunction in cancer patients. Curr Opin Oncol 4 (4): 605-13, 1992.
  14. Havenga K, Maas CP, DeRuiter MC, et al.: Avoiding long-term disturbance to bladder and sexual function in pelvic surgery, particularly with rectal cancer. Semin Surg Oncol 18 (3): 235-43, 2000 Apr-May.
  15. Fosså SD, Woehre H, Kurth KH, et al.: Influence of urological morbidity on quality of life in patients with prostate cancer. Eur Urol 31 (Suppl 3): 3-8, 1997.
  16. Helgason AR, Adolfsson J, Dickman P, et al.: Factors associated with waning sexual function among elderly men and prostate cancer patients. J Urol 158 (1): 155-9, 1997.
  17. Litwin MS, Hays RD, Fink A, et al.: Quality-of-life outcomes in men treated for localized prostate cancer. JAMA 273 (2): 129-35, 1995.
  18. Relander T, Cavallin-Ståhl E, Garwicz S, et al.: Gonadal and sexual function in men treated for childhood cancer. Med Pediatr Oncol 35 (1): 52-63, 2000.
  19. Broeckel JA, Thors CL, Jacobsen PB, et al.: Sexual functioning in long-term breast cancer survivors treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. Breast Cancer Res Treat 75 (3): 241-8, 2002.
  20. Bokhour BG, Clark JA, Inui TS, et al.: Sexuality after treatment for early prostate cancer: exploring the meanings of "erectile dysfunction". J Gen Intern Med 16 (10): 649-55, 2001.
  21. Steineck G, Helgesen F, Adolfsson J, et al.: Quality of life after radical prostatectomy or watchful waiting. N Engl J Med 347 (11): 790-6, 2002.
  22. Kiserud CE, Schover LR, Dahl AA, et al.: Do male lymphoma survivors have impaired sexual function? J Clin Oncol 27 (35): 6019-26, 2009.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: September 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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