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Br J Cancer. 1996 Jun;73(11):1417-21.

Waning sexual function--the most important disease-specific distress for patients with prostate cancer.

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Department of Cancer Epidemiology, Radiumhemmet, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


The objective was to investigate how prostate cancer and its treatment affects sexual, urinary and bowel functions and to what extent eventual complications cause distress. A questionnaire was sent to 431 men aged 50-80 years with prostate cancer diagnosed in 1992 in the Stockholm area (Sweden) and 435 randomly selected men with a similar age distribution. Sexual function, as compared with their youth, was diminished in a majority of all men. The prostate cancer patients were, however, more likely to report low frequency and/or intensity in all aspects of sexual function. A majority of the men were distressed by a waning sexual capacity. The proportion of men with prostate cancer who were severely distressed owing to a decline in sexual function was larger than in the reference group. The willingness to trade off an intact sexual function for long-term survival varied considerably among the men in the reference group. Urinary and bowel symptoms were less common than a waning sexual function in both groups, and few appeared to be severely distressed by urinary or bowel symptoms. A decline in sexual functions was the most common cause of disease-specific distress in men with prostate cancer.

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