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Support Care Cancer. 2003 Nov;11(11):700-6. Epub 2003 Sep 13.

Quality of life aspects in kidney cancer patients: data from a national registry.

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Department of Urology, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, 161 Fort Washington Avenue, Herbert Irving Pavilion, New York, NY 10032, USA.



We investigated quality of life aspects, including health-related quality of life, psychological functioning, relationship issues and sexual functioning in kidney cancer patients.


We conducted an anonymous, cross-sectional survey of a random sample of patients with kidney cancer from a national database. A questionnaire was mailed to 301 members of the Kidney Cancer Association. The questionnaire included demographics, medical history, the Watts Sexual Function Questionnaire (WSFQ), the SF-12 Health Survey, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale (RDAS).


Of the 266 eligible participants, 84 (33%) returned the questionnaire. The mean ages of the respondents were 57.5 and 57.9 years for men and women, respectively. Overall, the total WSFQ scores as well as the four domain scores (desire, arousal, orgasm and satisfaction) were similar in men and women, and lower than in female breast cancer and male hypertensive populations reported in the literature, indicating relatively worse sexual function. While subjects reported health-related quality of life and relationship scores similar to the general population, 51% of men and 57% of women reported depressive symptoms (CES-D >/=16).


This is the first study in which sexual function in patients with renal cancer has been addressed. While most patients remain sexually active in non-distressed relationships, many reported depressive symptoms, and sexual functioning may be worse than in comparable chronically ill populations. Quality of life and sexual function issues should be addressed when counseling urological cancer patients.

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