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G Ital Med Lav Ergon 2012 Apr-Jun 2012

[Sexuality and intimacy after cancer: an explorative survey at 5 years or more since treatment completion].

INTRODUCTION: Long-term cancer survivorship is a reality for a growing number of persons diagnosed with cancer and this fact justifies the great effort made to know and to improve quality of life (QoL) after having experienced a cancer and its treatments. In this paper, the perception of both sexuality and intimacy--that represents a QoL domain--is investigated in a sample of long-term cancer survivors to identify potential problematic areas and to verify its association with the main socio-demographic and clinical variables.

METHOD: 96 long-term cancer survivors (i.e. persons free from cancer and its treatments for at least 5 years) filled out a brief questionnaire together with a socio-demographic and clinical form.

RESULTS: 17.7% of the sample reported lower interest in sexuality and intimacy; 34.3% more interest in tenderness and cuddles; 12.5% discomfort in intimacy; 30.2% decreased frequency of sexual intercourses; 28.2%, 23.9% and 22.9%, respectively, decreased sexual desire, difficulty with arousal, difficulty with orgasm; finally, 37.5% reported absent or poor satisfaction for their own sexual life. The perception of sexuality and intimacy was associated with gender, age, occupational status, cancer type, other health problems, organic/functional genital damage (p < 0.05), but not with education, marital status, having or not children, length of survivorship.

CONCLUSIONS: Although preliminary, these data seem to support World Health Organization statement on the centrality of sexuality of being human.

Useful Links

PMID 23326934 | (links to published article)

Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

Published by

ecancer Global Foundation