People who undergo cancer surgery are more likely to complain of sexual dysfunction, a study has found.
Christian Schmidt and colleagues have said that sexual problems are frequent after operations for carcinoma of the rectum.
In Germany, each year more than 70,000 people develop colorectal carcinoma.
The study was aimed at investigating the effects of tumor surgery on quality of life and sexual function.
Data from 368 patients were available to the authors.
The patients were asked the following two questions- "Has the operation resulted in an impairment of your sexuality?" and "How much does this disturb you?"
It was found that men complained increasingly of sexual dysfunction over time and the effects were more marked than in women.
Younger female patients had more difficulty in experiencing their sexuality than did older female patients.
The probability of loss of function increased with the size of the wound. Radiation and chemotherapy did not have any unfavourable effect on the sex lives of the patients in this study.
In spite of the clear results, the authors emphasize that sexual function was not recorded preoperatively, to avoid unsettling the patients.
The study has been published in the current issue of Deutsches Arzteblatt International.