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Blood. 2008 Feb 1;111(3):989-96. Epub 2007 Sep 18.

Sexual function changes during the 5 years after high-dose treatment and hematopoietic cell transplantation for malignancy, with case-matched controls at 5 years.

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Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


This prospective study evaluated sexual function through 5 years after myeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for cancer to determine sexual function recovery and residual problems. Adults completed measures before HCT (N = 161), with survivors followed at 6 months and at 1, 2, 3, and 5 years. At 5 years case-matched controls also completed assessments. Analyses indicated that men and women differed in rates of being sexually active across time (P < .001) and in overall sexual function (P < .001). Both sexes declined in sexual activity rates and sexual function from before HCT to 6 months afterward (P < or = .05). Activity rates recovered for men by 1 year (74%) and for women by 2 years (55%). Men improved from their 6-month nadir in sexual function by 2 years (P = .02), whereas women did not improve by 5 years (P = .17). Both male and female survivors were below controls in rates of sexual activity and sexual function at 5 years. Most women reported sexual problems (80% of survivors vs 61% of controls, P = .11); in contrast for men 46% of survivors versus 21% of controls (P = .05) reported problems. Thus, despite some recovery, sexual dysfunction remained a major problem for men and women after HCT. Aggressive efforts are needed to treat these deficits.

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