Radical Cystectomy and Perioperative Sexual Function: A Cross-Sectional Analysis

Bladder Cancer

J Sex Med. 2020 Jul 23:S1743-6095(20)30718-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.06.015. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Cancer-related changes in sexual function (SF) negatively impact quality of life and intimate partner relationships. There is a lack of data regarding SF among patients who underwent radical cystectomy (RC).

AIM: To comparatively evaluate perioperative SF among patients who underwent RC.

METHODS: A prospective cohort of 150 patients undergoing RC for bladder cancer and participating in an internal validation study at a single institution from 2016 to 2019 were eligible for analysis. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Core Questionnaire-Bladder Cancer Muscle Invasive (EORTC QLQ-BLM 30) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bladder were administered; those completing the SF subscale of the EORTC QLQ-BLM 30 were included in final analysis. Analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and generalized linear modeling.

OUTCOMES: The primary outcome was interest or engagement in sexual activity within 4 weeks of survey completion, whereas the secondary outcome was a mean score on the EORTC QLQ-BLM 30 SF subscale.

RESULTS: Overall, 132 of 150 (88%) of patients were eligible, of whom 82% were male, and the median age was 68.5 years. 53% reported at least a little interest in sexual activity, and 40% endorsed sexual activity within the last 4 weeks. The mean SF subscale score was 61.5 ± 25.2. Women had significantly worse mean scores of 72.9 ± 27.1 versus 59.1 ± 24.2 for men (P = .02). On multivariate analysis, both age and female gender were independently associated with higher SF domain scores.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: A substantial portion of patients who underwent RC endorse being sexually active or express interest in sexually activity in the perioperative period. Given the recent increase in attention given to SF outcomes and quality of life, this work supports further efforts to explore this area and develop novel interventions to improve outcomes.

STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS: Strengths include rigorously collected, cross-sectional data using standardized methodology. Limitations include a relatively small sample size of female patients and unknown meaningful clinical difference.

CONCLUSIONS: A substantial portion of patients report sexual interest and activity in the perioperative period; however, female gender is associated with worse SF domain scores. These findings support further inquiry into this topic. Westerman ME, Kokorovic A, Wang XS, et al. Radical Cystectomy and Perioperative Sexual Function: A Cross-Sectional Analysis. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.