Sexual function and quality of life of patients affected by ovarian cancer.


Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Women and Children's Health, A. Gemelli University Hospital and Institute for Research and Care, Rome, Italy - [Email]


BACKGROUND : The sexual function (SF) in patients affected by malignancies represents an important aspect influencing the quality of life (QoL). The most frequent symptoms reported are the decreased sexual desire, dyspareunia, and/or problems with arousal or achieving orgasm. The present study is aimed at analyzing the available scientific evidence regarding the QoL and especially SF of patients affected by ovarian cancer who underwent surgical and medical treatment.
METHODS : A preliminary research was conducted using Pubmed database with specific keywords combinations regarding SF, QoL and ovarian cancer. The principal findings considered in the present review were: the study design, the number of patients included in each study, the information about the malignancy (histology and stage of disease), the questionnaires administered and the principal findings concerning SF and QoL.
UNASSIGNED : The studies selected were 5 prospective series and 3 case control cross-sectional studies. The scores used were focused on SF, QOL, fatigue and psychological aspects. All studies reported a decreased SF and QOL. Different factors coexist in the influence on outcomes such as physical, hormonal, psychological, self body image, and mechanic outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS : SF represents a fundamental aspect strictly related with QoL. Patients with ovarian cancer (as well all oncological patients) experience a reduction in their SF after diagnosis of malignancy and they should receive adequate counseling regarding this aspect.