Sexual function may be impaired in female cancer patients
Cancer negatively affects sexual function in women, according to the results of a meta-analysis.
Researchers pooled data from 35 studies that investigated female sexual dysfunction based on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI; a 19-item self-report tool for evaluating key dimensions of female sexual function) and involved at least 30 cancer patients.
The study outcomes were female sexual dysfunction (FSFI<26.55) prevalence and total FSFI score. A random effects model was used in the presence of statistical heterogeneity.
The mean FSFI score was <20 at all cancer sites: 16.25 (95 percent CI, 14.91 to 17.58; I2, 14.5 percent) for colorectal cancer, 18.11 (14.45 to 21.77; I2, 97.8 percent) for gynaecological cancer and 19.58 (17.64 to 21.53; I2, 90.9 percent) for breast cancer.
Female sexual dysfunction prevalence was higher than 60 percent at all cancer sites, with the highest prevalence observed for gynaecological cancer (78.44 percent; 68.36 to 88.52 percent; I2, 94.1 percent). Women with cancer showed low FSFI scores with a high prevalence of FSD.
Most studies (56 percent) showed low to moderate quality.
Sexual health conditions affecting women during or after cancer therapy may be similar to female sexual dysfunction in the general population. Female sexual disorders are defined by the American Psychiatric Association according to sexual interest/arousal, orgasmic and genitopelvic pain/penetration, all of which can occur as a direct result of cancer and its treatments. Surgical treatment may cause distortions of female anatomy (especially for patients with breast or gynaecologic cancers), whereas chemotherapy can exert systemic effects that negatively impacts on both sexual desire and arousal. [Fertil Steril 2013;100:916–21]