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G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 2012 Apr-Jun;34(2 Suppl B):B12-6.

[Sexuality and intimacy after cancer: an explorative survey at 5 years or more since treatment completion].

[Article in Italian]

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SOS di Psicologia Oncologica - IRCCS Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano (PN), Italy.



Long-term cancer survivorship is a reality for a growing number of persons diagnosed with cancer and this fact justifies the great effort made to know and to improve quality of life (QoL) after having experienced a cancer and its treatments. In this paper, the perception of both sexuality and intimacy--that represents a QoL domain--is investigated in a sample of long-term cancer survivors to identify potential problematic areas and to verify its association with the main socio-demographic and clinical variables.


96 long-term cancer survivors (i.e. persons free from cancer and its treatments for at least 5 years) filled out a brief questionnaire together with a socio-demographic and clinical form.


17.7% of the sample reported lower interest in sexuality and intimacy; 34.3% more interest in tenderness and cuddles; 12.5% discomfort in intimacy; 30.2% decreased frequency of sexual intercourses; 28.2%, 23.9% and 22.9%, respectively, decreased sexual desire, difficulty with arousal, difficulty with orgasm; finally, 37.5% reported absent or poor satisfaction for their own sexual life. The perception of sexuality and intimacy was associated with gender, age, occupational status, cancer type, other health problems, organic/functional genital damage (p < 0.05), but not with education, marital status, having or not children, length of survivorship.


Although preliminary, these data seem to support World Health Organization statement on the centrality of sexuality of being human.

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