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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1992 Jan;14(1):43-55.

Long-term psychosexual adjustment of acute leukemia survivors: impact of marrow transplantation versus conventional chemotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York 10021.


Psychosexual sequelae associated with surviving acute leukemia treated with conventional chemotherapy or with chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplantation (BMT) were investigated in 70 patients who were off treatment for at least 1 year. Assessment of psychosexual function included frequency of sexual activity, satisfaction, body image, gender role identity, and adjustment in sexual relations. No differences between BMT and conventional chemotherapy survivors were found on any of these measures, despite the high probability of gonadal impairment with BMT. Compared with physically healthy norms, women survivors generally reported decreased sexual frequency and satisfaction, whereas both men and women survivors reported poorer body image. Longer time since completing cancer treatment predicted greater frequency of sexual activity in women but poorer body image for both men and women. Those survivors who reported decreased sexual frequency, satisfaction, and poorer body image reported greater psychological distress and decreased energy. Results indicate that psychosexual sequelae in survivors of leukemia occur frequently and warrant intensive investigation, particularly to address the need for an intervention in those most distressed.

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