Sexual Functioning and Vaginal Changes after Radical Vaginal Trachelectomy in Early Stage Cervical Cancer Patients: A Longitudinal Study

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Introduction.Radical vaginal trachelectomy (RVT) offers low complication rate, good survival, and possibility for future childbearing for young women with early stage cervical cancer. However, the literature on quality of life (QOL) and sexual functioning in patients undergoing RVT is scarce.Aim.The aims of this study were to prospectively assess sexual function after RVT and to compare scores of sexual function in patients operated by RVT and radical abdominal hysterectomy (RAH) with those of age-matched control women from the general population.Methods.Eighteen patients with early stage cervical cancer operated with RVT were prospectively included and assessed preoperatively, and 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively using validated questionnaires. RAH patients were included consecutively and assessed once at 12 months postsurgery, while an age-matched control group of 30 healthy women was assessed once.Main Outcome Measure.Sexual dysfunction total score as measured by the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) was the main outcome measure.Results.During the 12 months posttreatment, RVT patients tended to have persistent sexual dysfunction as measured by FSFI (mean overall score <26.55 at each assessment) and Female Sexual Distress Scale (mean overall score > 11). Sexual worry (P < 0.001) and lack of sexual desire (P = 0.038) were more frequently reported among patients in both treatment groups compared with control women. Sexual activity increased significantly during the observation time for the RVT group (P = 0.023) and reached that of healthy women. Global Health Status score improved over time for the RVT group but never reached that of healthy control women (P = 0.029).Conclusions.Our data suggest that patients treated with RVT for early stage cervical cancer experience persistent sexual dysfunction up to one year post surgery influencing negatively on their QOL.

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