Sexual activity and functioning in ovarian cancer survivors: an internet-based evaluation

Hopkins, T G, Stavraka, C, Gabra, H, Fallowfield, L, Hood, C and Blagden, S (2015) Sexual activity and functioning in ovarian cancer survivors: an internet-based evaluation. Climacteric, 18 (1). pp. 94-98. ISSN 1473-0804

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Objectives Sexual dysfunction is a known complication of treatment for many cancers, but there have been relatively few studies investigating outcomes for ovarian cancer survivors. We have previously reported that women treated for ovarian cancer experience persistent psychological and physical problems. Sexual functioning was highlighted as a significant factor and we sought to investigate this further. Methods Women were invited to complete a questionnaire using both paper and online response formats. A validated tool, the Sexual Activity Questionnaire, was used to obtain information from women following a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Results Across all responders (n = 102, mean age 51.3 years), 63% of women reported their ovarian cancer diagnosis had negatively changed their sex life. The most common reasons given for an absence of sexual activity were a lack of interest in sex, physical problems that prevented sex or no partner. Of the 46% of responders who stated they were sexually active, 77% reported pain or discomfort during intercourse and 87% described vaginal dryness. Conclusion For the majority of women, treatment for ovarian cancer negatively impacts on their sex lives. Many of the symptoms described by participants are potentially reversible and clinicians should be open to raising the issue of sexual functioning with their patients.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Ovarian Cancer, Survivorship, Sexual activity, Sexual function
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer (SHORE-C)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ0012 Sexual life
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology Including cancer and carcinogens
Depositing User: Kathryn Monson
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2014 10:17
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2015 09:33
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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
UnsetUnsetOvarian Cancer ActionUnset
UnsetUnsetWellbeing of WomenUnset
UnsetUnsetImperial College Wellcome Trust TMT Fellowship SchemePS1903