Sexual Dysfunction in Females after Cancer Treatment: an Unresolved Issue

Document Type: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Authors

1 Department of Preventive Oncology, Dr B.R.Ambedkar Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India.

2 Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India.

3 Department of Pediatrics, Max Smart Superspecialty Hospital, Saket, Delhi, India.

4 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute, Kolkata, India.

5 Department of Microbiology, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology, Kolkata, India.

6 Department of Radiation Oncology, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, India.

7 Department of Radiation Oncology, Dr B.R.Ambedkar Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India.

Abstract

 
Cancer besides being a leading cause of mortality also creates a myriad of morbidities in survivors whether treated or untreated. Among women surviving after gynecological malignancies sexual dysfunction is a morbidity unexplored in Indian context because of cultural barriers. With the increasing proportion of women surviving carcinoma of the cervix, quality of life has become an important clinical issue. Despite the immense distress it causes in patients, sexual dysfunction is neither screened nor treated in Indian scenario. Despite this recognition, the area is not well researched and there is a paucity of information on the impact of cancer treatment on sexual health in Indian Context. Research has shown that up to 50% of women treated for cervix cancers have sexual dysfunction as they recover and become cancer survivors. This article aims to review the phases of sexual response and how each may be affected by the physical and emotional stress of cancer diagnosis and treatment. We will then discuss existing tools for assessment of sexual function and approaches to their treatment. Finally, we will conclude with advice to health care professionals based on current research and suggest questions for future study.

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