Despite extensive research on sexual dysfunction after gynecological cancer, uncertainty remains regarding the nature and extent of sexual problems following surgery for early cervical cancer. This study investigated whether radical hysterectomy for stage IB cancer of the cervix without adjuvant treatment entails short- or long-term sexual difficulties. Twenty patients with stage IB cervical cancer undergoing radical hysterectomy (CG), 18 women treated with hysterectomy for a benign gynecological condition (BG), and 20 gynecologically healthy women (HG) were studied. At 0, 4, and 8 months postoperatively, data were prospectively gathered using standardized questionnaires and specifically developed scales. Sexual functioning was covered in 15 specifically designed items and analyzed using Fisher's exact tests. For all other variables, group comparisons were computed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) or nonparametric statistical equivalents. Nonsignificant trends, consistent across time and groups, resulted for most of the sexual variables. Preoperatively, cancer patients exhibited slightly better sexual functioning than the other two groups, but over time this decreased slightly. Conversely, sexual functioning among the patients with benign disease showed steady improvement. These results indicate that radical hysterectomy for stage IB cervical cancer does not entail major sexual sequelae. Because of the limited sample size of our study, conclusions must be drawn cautiously.
- benign gynecological conditions
- cervical cancer
- radical surgery
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