Sexuality and fertility in urologic cancer patients

Cancer. 1987 Aug 1;60(3 Suppl):553-8. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19870801)60:3+<553::aid-cncr2820601519>;2-3.


With the advent of effective treatment for urologic cancer, the preservation of sexual function and fertility has become an important goal. Some cancer treatments damage the physiological systems involved in reproduction. All have a psychological impact on sexuality. For men with prostate cancer, current issues in sexual rehabilitation include the debate on nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy, the role of vascular damage in causing erectile dysfunction after radiotherapy, and the need for a better understanding of hormonal effects on central and peripheral mechanisms of sexual function. In the treatment of men and women with bladder cancer, the sexual function morbidity of radical cystectomy is described in data from prospective interview studies. Sexual desire and orgasm remain normal after surgery despite disruption of the genital vasocongestion accompanying sexual arousal. Long-term follow-up studies of testicular cancer patients suggest that some increase in sexual dysfunction does occur. Infertility remains a concern for a subgroup of younger, childless men. Attempts to modify or eliminate retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy are discussed, as is recovery of spermatogenesis after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Sexual function in patients with penile, urethral, or renal cell carcinoma is briefly reviewed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling
  • Dysgerminoma / therapy
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male / physiopathology*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male / therapy
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / therapy
  • Penile Neoplasms / therapy
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Sex*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / therapy