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Sexuality of Older Cancer Survivors

When the researchers compared the sexual activities and function of the cancer survivors and the cancer-free group, they found many similarities. For example, roughly half the women in each group said they had intercourse frequently. Degrees of sexual problems were about the same as well.

However, sexual dissatisfaction was markedly different. Eighteen percent of female cancer survivors said they were dissatisfied, compared to 12% of cancer-free women. Male cancer survivors had higher dissatisfaction rates too: 31% compared to 20% for men without cancer. It wasn’t clear why the survivors were less satisfied.

Women who had been diagnosed within the previous five years were more likely to have problems with desire, arousal, and orgasms. But this result was not found among the men.

“On the whole, our results are generally encouraging,” the authors wrote. “A diagnosis of cancer does not seem to affect whether or not people have sex, how often they have sex, what they do when they have sex, and (in the case of men) their sexual function.”

But they called for more research on sexual dissatisfaction rates and poorer sexual function in women with recent cancer diagnoses.

Resources

Cancer

Jackson, Sarah E, PhD, et al.

“Sexuality after a cancer diagnosis: A population‐based study”

(Full-text. Published online: August 16, 2016)

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.30263

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