Sexual dysfunction in cancer patients: a review.

ABSTRACT Cancer is a life-threatening disease despite the advanced therapeutic strategies now available. A common problem is that physicians and patients tend to concentrate on intensive medical treatment options and underestimate the treatment-related adverse effects. In this review, we summarize one of these adverse effects in cancer patients; sexual dysfunction (SD). In addition, current therapeutic choices with optimal doses and patient selection strategies are defined. All patients should be informed about problems associated with therapy-related SD and must be guided toward the most appropriate therapeutic options before starting treatment.

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    ABSTRACT: As the number of breast cancer survivors increases, the long term consequences of breast cancer treatment are gaining attention. Sexual dysfunction is a common complaint amongst breast cancer survivors, and there are few evidence based recommendations and even fewer well designed clinical trials to establish what treatments are safe or effective in this patient population. We conducted a PubMed search for articles published between 1995-2009 containing the terms breast cancer, sexual dysfunction, libido, vaginal dryness, testosterone, and vaginal estrogen. We initially reviewed articles focusing exclusively on sexual issues in breast cancer patients. Given the paucity of clinical trials addressing sexual issues in breast cancer patients, we also included studies evaluating both hormone and non-hormone based interventions for sexual dysfunction in post-menopausal women in general. Among breast cancer survivors, vaginal dryness and loss of libido represent some of the most challenging long term side effects of breast cancer treatment. In the general post-menopausal population, topical preparations of estrogens and testosterone both appear to improve sexual function; however there are conflicting reports about the efficacy and safety of these interventions in women with a history of breast cancer, and further research is warranted.
    Journal of Cancer Survivorship 09/2010; 4(3):247-55. DOI:10.1007/s11764-010-0130-1 · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aromatase inhibitors (AI) are increasingly used in early breast cancer and there is a growing interest in associated long-term side-effects of profound estrogen suppression. Urogenital side-effects due to atrophic vaginitis are often managed with vaginal estrogen preparations. These are generally perceived to result in minimal systemic absorption of estrogen. We followed serum estradiol, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) levels in seven postmenopausal women using vaginal estrogen preparations whilst on AIs for breast cancer. Serum was analysed for estradiol, FSH and LH at baseline then 2, 4, 7-10 and 12 weeks since commencement of vaginal estradiol. Estradiol was measured on an assay specifically developed for measuring low levels in postmenopausal women. Serum estradiol levels rose from baseline levels < or = 5 pmol/l consistent with AI therapy to a mean 72 pmol/l at 2 weeks. By 4 weeks this had decreased to < 35 pmol/l in the majority (median 16 pmol/l) although significant further rises were seen in two women. The vaginal estradiol tablet Vagifem significantly raises systemic estradiol levels, at least in the short term. This reverses the estradiol suppression achieved by aromatase inhibitors in women with breast cancer and is contraindicated.
    Annals of Oncology 04/2006; 17(4):584-7. DOI:10.1093/annonc/mdj127 · 6.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The life expectancy of patients with localized prostate cancer at treatment initiation has increased, and post-treatment quality of life has become a key issue. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of Radical prostatectomy (RP) on patients' sexual health and satisfaction according to sexual motivation using a self-administered questionnaire completed by two groups of RP patients, with high or lower levels of sexual motivation. A total of 63 consecutive patients were included (mean age, 63.9 years), of whom 74.6% were being treated for erectile dysfunction (ED). After RP, patients reported lower sexual desire (52.4%), reduced intercourse frequency (79.4%), anorgasmia (39.7%), less satisfying orgasm (38.1%), climacturia (25.4%), greater distress (68.3%) and/or lower partner satisfaction (56.5%). Among the most sexually motivated patients, 76.0% reported loss of masculine identity, 52% loss of self-esteem and 36.0% anxiety about performance. These rates were lower among less motivated patients (52.6, 28.9, and 18.4%, respectively). Mean overall satisfaction score was 4.8 ± 2.9. The score was significantly lowered in motivated than less motivated patients (3.4 vs 5.8) (P = 0.001). In conclusion, RP adversely affected erectile and orgasmic functions but also sexual desire, self-esteem and masculinity. The more motivated patients experienced greater distress and were less satisfied.
    International journal of impotence research 04/2011; 23(2):81-6. DOI:10.1038/ijir.2011.8 · 2.73 Impact Factor


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May 22, 2014