A systematic review of sexual concerns reported by gynecological cancer survivors

OBJECTIVE: To identify physical, psychological and social sexual concerns reported by gynecological (GYN) cancer survivors. METHODS: A systematic review of the literature was conducted using CINAHL, PubMed and PsycInfo databases. Reference lists from articles provided additional relevant literature. Only research articles from peer-reviewed journals were included. A total of 37 articles were located; 34 explored women's sexual concerns following gynecological cancer diagnosis and treatment and 3 tested interventions for sexual concerns in women with gynecological cancer. RESULTS: Sexual concerns were identified across all dimensions of sexuality. Common concerns in the physical dimension were dyspareunia, changes in the vagina, and decreased sexual activity. In the psychological dimension, common concerns were decreased libido, alterations in body image, and anxiety related to sexual performance. And in the social dimension, common concerns were difficulty maintaining previous sexual roles, emotional distancing from the partner, and perceived change in the partner's level of sexual interest. Of the three psychoeducational intervention studies, two reported improvements in physical aspects of sexual function, and one reported improved knowledge, but without resolution of sexual concerns. CONCLUSION: Gynecological cancer survivors experience a broad range of sexual concerns after diagnosis and treatment, but the majority of studies emphasized physical aspects of sexuality, and may not adequately represent women's psychological and social sexual concerns. Health care providers should remain mindful of psychological and social sexual concerns when caring for gynecologic cancer survivors. Future research should systematically evaluate the full range of sexual concerns in large, representative samples of GYN cancer survivors and develop and test interventions to address those concerns.

Abbott-Anderson, Kristen
Kwekkeboom, Kristine L.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Gynecologic Oncology
Journal Abbreviation: 
Gynecol. Oncol.
Publication Date: 
Publication Year: 
Library Catalog: 
PMID: 22134375

Turabian/Chicago Citation

Kristen Abbott-Anderson and Kristine L. Kwekkeboom. 2012-03. "A systematic review of sexual concerns reported by gynecological cancer survivors." Gynecologic Oncology 124: 3: 477-489. 10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.11.030.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = 10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.11.030 | issn = 1095-6859 | volume = 124 | pages = 477-489 | last = Abbott-Anderson | first = Kristen | coauthors = Kwekkeboom, Kristine L. | title = A systematic review of sexual concerns reported by gynecological cancer survivors | journal = Gynecologic Oncology | date = 2012-03 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>