Psychosexual problems of cancer patients and their spouses Results of an open ended survey
K Sreerekha, Manoj Pandey and Anupama Thomas
World Journal of Psycho-Social Oncology 2012, 1:1
Introduction: Diagnosis and can treatment of cancer is associated with disruption of physical, physiological, psychological and sexual functions. We carried out an open ended survey to know the sexual morbidity and what does the patients and spouses think cause these dysfunctions.
Patients and methods: A total of 100 patients and their spouses were interviewed using an open ended questionnaire. The questionnaire had questions related to 7 construct areas that were identified using a literature search and expert opinion. These 7 construct areas namely cosmesis, physical barriers, psychological factors, activities of daily living, social aspects, physiological-sexual factors and religion were included in the open ended questionnaire
Results: The survey population consisted of 56 women and 44 men with cancer and their spouses. Of these 47 were sexually active at the time of interview. A total of 57 patients had completed the treatment and 36 were on treatment while 7 were waiting for the initiation of treatment. Nearly equal number of patients had primary in head neck region, breast, genitourinary and lymphoproliferative disorders. The physiological reasons, spouse related factors and erectile dysfunction were found to be the most common problems faced by the patients. Besides, these fatigue, pain, lack of arousal, problems of early ejaculations were also identified. Only 9 patients reported that there were no sexual issues that they faced, six of these reported to be sexually inactive.
Conclusions: The results of the present survey show a high psychosexual morbidity in patients with cancer. The reason for sexual problems ranged from physical barrier to reasons like financial problems. Loss of cosmesis and pain was also found to be affecting sexual function. A need is seen to improve the patient spouse; patient physician communication which may in turn might improve the patients’ sexual function.