Sexual function of patients under surveillance for bladder cancer
OBJECTIVE To describe the prevalence of sexual dysfunction and evaluate risk factors in patients just diagnosed with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMI UC), who have the prospect of an intensive surveillance scheme by cysto-urethroscopy to detect tumour recurrences. PATIENTS AND METHODS We conducted a cross-sectional survey on 150 patients just diagnosed with primary or recurrent NMI UC. Patients were participating in a randomized clinical multicentre trial (CEFuB), comparing two surveillance schemes. Patients were asked to complete questionnaires at study entry 3 months before the start of the study-surveillance scheme (demographic characteristics, a validated visual analogue scale, and validated subset of questions on sexual function and performance derived from QLQ-BLS-24). The results were compared with those from an age-and gender-matched healthy population. RESULTS The response rate was 95% (142/150); 61% (87/142) of the respondents were sexually active in the previous 4 weeks after diagnosis, 66% (70/105) of men and 46% (17/37) of women. Although libido was not negatively affected, 54% (47/87) of the patients had a sexual dysfunction, and 23% (17/73) were afraid to inflict harm on their partner by sexual contact. Sexually active patients perceived a higher state of general health (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS The prevalence of sexual dysfunction in patients with NMI UC is very high (54%) compared with an age- and gender-matched healthy population (20-45%). No predictors for sexual dysfunction were found. These patients and partners would benefit from proper sexual information in the outpatient clinic.