Comparison of the effect of non-surgical treatment modalities on sexual functioning and quality of life of patients with carcinoma of the cervix: a pilot study
Objectives: To compare sexual functioning and quality of life of patients with cervical cancer after non-surgical treatment with a control group of healthy women. Methods: Women treated for cancer of the cervix were selected out of an existing database and interviewed using a validated questionnaire, the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Women had undergone radiotherapy or a combination therapy (radiotherapy and chemotherapy and/or hyperthermia). The two treatment groups and the control group were compared with respect to quality of life and sexual functioning. Results: Seventy-six women (27 after radiotherapy alone, 33 after radiotherapy with either chemotherapy or hyperthermia and 16 healthy women) were included in this analysis. Women who were treated for carcinoma of the cervix experienced a lower quality of life, reported more physical complaints, had more sexual problems and less sexual intercourse than healthy women. Compared to the radiotherapy group, 20% more patients in the combination therapy group were sexually active. Conclusions: Women who underwent non-surgical treatment for carcinoma of the cervix had more sexual problems and less sexual intercourse than healthy women, irrespective of the treatment modality used (radiotherapy or combination therapy). Prospective studies on sexual functioning after treatment with radiotherapy versus combination therapies are needed.