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Tumor surgery impairs sexuality

Sexual problems are frequent after operations for carcinoma of the rectum. Christian Schmidt et al. describe the consequences for quality of life in the current issue of Deutsches rzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107[8]: 123-30).

In Germany, each year more than 70,000 people develop colorectal carcinoma. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of tumor surgery on quality of life and sexual function. Data from 368 patients were available to the authors. The patients were asked the following two questions: "Has the operation resulted in an impairment of your sexuality?" and "How much does this disturb you?" Men complained increasingly of sexual dysfunction over time and the effects were more marked than in women. Younger female patients had more difficulty in experiencing their sexuality than did older female patients. The probability of loss of function increased with the size of the wound. Radiation and chemotherapy did not have any unfavorable effect on the sex lives of the patients in this study. In spite of the clear results, the authors emphasize that sexual function was not recorded preoperatively, to avoid unsettling the patients. Only cautious conclusions could be drawn from the study.


Contact: Dr. Christian Schmidt MPH
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

Page: 1

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