Objective: The objective of this study was to empirically assess the emotional and sexual impact of cancer-related infertility in women with a history of gynecologic cancer.
Method: Women with a history of gynecologic cancer were approached during their gynecologic oncology clinic appointment; they were provided a description of the study and asked to participate. All participants completed a one-time self-report survey. We present data acquired via the following methods: Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), Impact of Events Scale (IES), Modified Inventory of Traumatic Grief (M-ITG), Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), and the Menopausal Symptom Checklist.
Results: The study sample consisted of 20 women, ages 27 to 49 years (mean, approximately 40 years), who had undergone treatment for cervical (40%), ovarian (20%), or uterine (40%) cancer. Forty percent of the sample reported depressive symptoms as measured by the CES-D, with 35% of the women experiencing moderate to severe levels of distress as measured by the IES. The women in this sample experienced dissatisfaction with their overall sex lives (67%), pain during vaginal penetration (62%), and low levels of sexual desire (56%).
Conclusions: The preliminary findings of this study indicated that feelings of depression, grief, stress, and sexual dysfunction are being experienced by women with a history of gynecologic cancer who have lost their fertility as a result of their cancer treatment.