The survival rates for testicular cancer are excellent; still, there is a lack of knowledge regarding important survivorship issues, such as sexual dysfunction and reproductive concerns.
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and predictors of sexual dysfunction and reproductive concerns and the potential association between these issues in young men ∼2 years after a diagnosis of testicular cancer.
Data were collected from 111 men (response rate = 50%) diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 16-39. Patients were identified via the Swedish National Quality Registry for Testicular Cancer and approached with a survey, including standardized measures of sexual function, reproductive concerns, body image, and health-related quality of life. The survey was sent to participants approximately 2 years after their cancer diagnosis. Clinical variables were collected from the registry. Predictors were identified by multivariable linear regression analyses.
The main outcomes were sexual function, assessed with the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Sexual Function and Satisfaction measure version 2.0, and reproductive concerns, assessed with the Reproductive Concerns After Cancer scale.
Sexual dysfunction was reported by 26% of men, and a high level of reproductive concerns was reported by 28%. Lower satisfaction with sex life was associated with older age (β = -0.41), negative body image (β = -0.42), not having a partner (β = 4.8), and dissatisfaction with sex life before cancer (β = 8.31). Negative body image was associated with reproductive concerns in the dimensions of fertility potential (β = 0.06), partner disclosure (β = 0.08), and child’s health (β = 0.07), whereas having had fertility preservation predicted higher levels of concerns with regard to personal health (β = 0.52) and achieving pregnancy (β = 0.53). Clinical variables did not predict either sexual function or reproductive concerns.
Our results show that the majority of young men diagnosed with testicular cancer do not report sexual dysfunction or reproductive concerns 2 years after diagnosis. A sizeable minority, however, does report dysfunction or reproductive concerns, which should be recognized in the follow-up care of this population.
A strength of the study is the use of high-quality registry data and validated instruments. The lack of Swedish norms for sexual function and reproductive concerns is a possible limitation.
A subgroup of young men treated for testicular cancer report sexual dysfunction or reproductive concerns approximately 2 years after diagnosis. Factors associated with these issues seem to mainly be psychological, rather than medical, nature. Ljungman L, Eriksson LE, Flynn KE, et al. Sexual Dysfunction and Reproductive Concerns in Young Men Diagnosed With Testicular Cancer: An Observational Study. J Sex Med 2019;16:1049-1059.
The journal of sexual medicine. 2019 Jul [Epub]
L Ljungman, L E Eriksson, K E Flynn, J R Gorman, O Ståhl, K Weinfurt, M Wiklander, C Lampic, L Wettergren
Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. Electronic address: ., Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Infectious Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Sweden; School of Health Sciences, City, University of London, United Kingdom., Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Wauwatosa, WI, USA., College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA., Department of Oncology, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden., Department of Population Health Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA., Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden., Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.