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Cancer. 2016 Jul 15;122(14):2268-76. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29989. Epub 2016 May 12.

Sexual function in male long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Author information

1
Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
2
National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, and Centre for Military Medicine, Finnish Defence Forces, Helsinki, Finland.
3
Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
4
Division of Hematology-Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, Children´s Hospital, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
5
Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institute and University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Infertility, poor semen quality, and gonadal dysfunction are well recognized long-term sequelae in male survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, few studies have investigated adult sexual functioning in these survivors.

METHODS:

The authors studied 52 male survivors of childhood ALL at a median age of 28.5 years (range, 25-38 years) ≥ 10 years after diagnosis. In addition, 56 men without a history of cancer were recruited for an age-matched control group. The participants completed the Derogatis Interview for Sexual Functioning self-report. To analyze predictive factors for sexual dysfunction, variables assessing sociodemographic background, antileukemia treatment, testicular size, laboratory variables from current serum and semen samples, self-reported depressive symptoms, and self-reported physical functioning were included in multiple regression analyses.

RESULTS:

ALL survivors had significantly poorer sexual functioning, as measured by the Derogatis Interview for Sexual Functioning self-report, compared with the control group. Survivors had a similar frequency of sexual fantasies, autoerotic acts, and full erection during these activities as the control group, but they had less frequent sexual activity with a sexual partner, poorer self-rated orgasms, and lower satisfaction with their sex life. Predictive factors for poorer sexual functioning were depressive symptoms, the absence of a relationship, and, to a lesser extent, testicular size as an indication of gonadal damage from childhood antileukemia therapy. Older survivors experienced a deeper decline in sexual functioning compared with men in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Decline in sexual functioning at an early adult age can be regarded as 1 of the late effects of childhood cancer. Monitoring these survivors' sexual health is indicated. Cancer 2016;122:2268-76. © 2016 American Cancer Society.

KEYWORDS:

childhood leukemia; late effects; long-term survivors; predictive factors; sexual function

PMID:
27171363
DOI:
10.1002/cncr.29989
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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