Can sexual bother after radical prostatectomy be predicted preoperatively? Findings from a prospective national study of the relation between sexual function, activity and bother - Abstract

National Resource Center for Late Effects Department of Urology, Oslo University Hospital, Division of Surgery and Cancer Medicine University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? Sexual function is often impaired after radical prostatectomy resulting in reduced sexual activity and sexual bother. The main focus in the literature concerning sexual adverse effects has been on erectile dysfunction and impairment of sexual function rather than the actual sexual bother it causes, although the sexual bother is most important to the individual patient's quality of life. The relation between these measures, and in particular preoperative prediction of postoperative sexual bother, has only been studied in a limited way and with varying results. Some studies have found good mental health, low levels of preoperative sexual bother, and higher education to be associated with absence of postoperative sexual bother, but another study could not identify any preoperative predictors of postoperative sexual bother. Severe sexual bother after radical prostatectomy was reported by 64% to 95% of patients 3 years after operation, and the prevalence was associated with the level of pretreatment sexual bother and peroperative nerve preservation. On the other hand, others have reported that only 43% of men have sexual bother 2 years after radical prostatectomy. However, none of these studies stratified patients according to their preoperative sexual activity and most of them were American. It has been shown that American findings concerning sexual bother may not always be valid for non-American patients due to differing sex role expectations, thus warranting the need for more non-American studies. This study has shown that two-thirds of patients experienced sexual bother 1 year after radical prostatectomy. We have identified patients with increased risk of experiencing overall sexual bother postoperatively: those who report preoperative sexual bother, those who are sexually active before radical prostatectomy, and those who display neurotic personality traits. Another important finding is that the proportion of patients who experienced bother relevant to having impaired postoperative sexual function was significantly higher among preoperatively sexually active patients than those who had been inactive. This study adds knowledge that patients' preoperative sexual activity, sexual bother and personality should be taken into account to be able to give individualized information about the risk of experiencing sexual bother after radical prostatectomy.

Study Type - Therapy (outcomes research) Level of Evidence 2c.

To explore the prevalence and prediction of overall sexual bother (SB) 1 year after radical prostatectomy (RP) in relation to preoperative sexual activity and postoperative sexual function.

This prospective national study included 453 men who completed the sexual domain of the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite before and 1 year after RP.  Preoperatively the patients were classified as sexually active or inactive based on frequency of intercourse during the previous 4 weeks. The prevalence of 1-year SB and the proportion of bothered patients with impaired sexual function were calculated.  Preoperative factors significantly associated with postoperative SB on univariate analysis (P < 0.05) were included in multivariate regression analysis, post-prostatectomy SB being the dependent variable.

The prevalence of SB increased from 18% preoperatively to 66% at 1 year after RP with a larger proportion of change in the active than the inactive group (59% vs 25%). The proportion of men reporting postoperative SB related to their impaired sexual function 1 year after RP was significantly higher in the preoperatively sexually active group (83%) compared with the inactive group (63%). In multivariate analysis preoperative SB, sexual activity and nervousness (neuroticism) significantly predicted postoperative SB with odds ratios of 3.71, 2.11 and 1.57, respectively.

Sexual activity and SB the last month before prostatectomy and neuroticism identify men at risk of developing SB 1 year postoperatively. Assessment of preoperative sexual activity and SB should be a part of preoperative counselling.

Written by:
Steinsvik EA, Axcrona K, Dahl AA, Eri LM, Stensvold A, Fosså SD.   Are you the author?

Reference: BJU Int. 2011 Oct 14. Epub ahead of print.
doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2011.10598.x

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21999333 Prostate Cancer Section



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