Author(s): Schover LR, Fife M, Gershenson DM
Abstract Assessment of sexual frequency, function, and behavior, as well as martial happiness and psychological distress was performed for 61 women with early stage, invasive cervical cancer at the time of diagnosis. Cancer treatment was radical hysterectomy alone for 26 women and radiotherapy with or without surgery for 37. Followups took place at 6 and 12 months after cancer therapy. Women's sexual satisfaction, capacity for orgasm, and frequency of masturbation remained stable, whereas frequency of sexual activity with a partner and range of sexual practices decreased significantly by one year. Women who received irradiation with or without surgery resembled women who underwent radical hysterectomy alone at 6 months. By one year, however, the radiotherapy group had developed dyspareunia, which was reflected in gynecologist ratings at pelvic examination. The women receiving radiotherapy also had more problems with sexual desire and arousal, and were less likely to resume several daily life activities. Cancer treatment modality was not related to marital happiness or stability, however.