Quality of life and sexual functioning after cervical cancer treatment: a long-term follow-up study.Psychooncology. 2009 May; 18(5):476-82.P
The purpose of the study was to investigate the long-term treatment side effects on the quality of life (QoL) and sexual functioning of cervical cancer survivors undergoing different treatment regimens.
QoL and sexual functioning were measured using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, the Cervix Cancer Module, and the Sexual Activity Questionnaire.
One hundred twenty-one cervical cancer survivors (63 Surgery, 38 Surgery/CT, and 20 Surgery/RT) participated. Patients in the Surgery/RT Group reported significantly worse QoL outcomes (lower scores on physical, role, cognitive, and social functioning) compared with patients in the Surgery Group or patients in the Surgery/CT Group. The level of symptoms such as nausea/vomiting, pain, appetite loss, frequent urination (p=0.019), leaking of urine (p=0.015), and the feeling of a tight vagina (p=0.018) was significantly higher in irradiated patients. Concerning sexual functioning, patients in the Surgery/RT Group reported a significantly lower sexual activity rate compared with women in the Surgery Group or women in the Surgery/CT group (p<0.05). However, there were no statistically significant differences concerning sexual pleasure and sexual discomfort among the three treatment groups (p>0.05).
Cervical cancer survivors treated with adjuvant radiotherapy are more likely at risk for impaired QoL. Survivors treated with surgery or adjuvant chemotherapy return to a similar level of QoL as women without a history of cancer. Although the sexual activity rate is lower in irradiated patients their sexual pleasure is similar to patients after surgery and chemotherapy.