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Arch Sex Behav. 2008 Apr;37(2):317-29. Epub 2007 Aug 7.

A psychoeducational intervention for sexual dysfunction in women with gynecologic cancer.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of British Columbia, 2775 Laurel Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1M9,


Treatment of early-stage cervical and endometrial cancer has been associated with significant sexual difficulties in at least half of women following hysterectomy. Despite the fact that women report such sexual side effects to be the most distressing aspect of their cancer treatment, evidence-based treatments for Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD), the most common sexual symptom in this group, do not exist. We developed and pilot tested a brief, three session psychoeducational intervention (PED) targeting FSAD in 22 women with early-stage gynecologic cancer. The PED consisted of three, 1-h sessions that combined elements of cognitive and behavioral therapy with education and mindfulness training. Women completed questionnaires and had a physiological measurement of genital arousal at pre- and post-PED (sessions 1 and 4) and participated in a semi-structured interview (session 4) during which their feedback on the PED was elicited. There was a significant positive effect of the PED on sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, satisfaction, sexual distress, depression, and overall well-being, and a trend towards significantly improved physiological genital arousal and perceived genital arousal. Qualitative feedback indicated that the PED materials were very user-friendly, clear, and helpful. In particular, women reported the mindfulness component to be most helpful. These findings suggest that a brief 3-session PED can significantly improve aspects of sexual response, mood, and quality of life in gynecologic cancer patients, and has implications for establishing the components of a psychological treatment program for FSAD.

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