Urinary and Sexual Disorders After Laparoscopic TME for Rectal Cancer in Males

BACKGROUND: Urinary and sexual dysfunctions are frequent after surgery for rectal cancer. Total mesorectal excision (TME) improves local recurrence and survival rates, and does not hamper recognition and sparing of hypogastric and pelvic splanchnic nerves. It is not known how laparoscopic rectal resection could change functional complication rates.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: From a global series of 1,216 laparoscopic interventions for colorectal diseases, 35 cases of males less than 70 years old, undergoing rectal resection and TME for a T1-3M0 medium and low rectal cancer were selected. Urinary and sexual functions after the operations were retrospectively recorded by means of specific tools (International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) and IIEF questionnaires, respectively).

RESULTS: None of the patients necessitated permanent or intermittent catheterization. More than half the patients had no complaints about urinary functions; about one third had nocturia; 72% of the patients had an IPSS less that 10, and no case of IPSS worse that 31 was recorded. Sexual desire was reduced and spontaneous erectile function was impaired in almost half the cases, while induced erections were possible in about 90% of cases; about 70% of patients still had the possibility of penetration and a normal ejaculation and orgasm after the intervention.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: The present series confirms previous data and contribute to the creation of a benchmark specifically related to the laparoscopic approach to which surgeons should face when informing the patients before the operation. While severe urinary dysfunction is rare, sexual impairment remains a serious concern after rectal resection with TME.

The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF):  a state-of-the-science review

The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF): a state-of-the-science review

The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) is a widely used, multi-dimensional self-report instrument for the evaluation of male sexual function. It is has been recommended as a primary endpoint for clinical trials of erectile dysfunction (ED) and for diagnostic evaluation of ED severity. The IIEF was developed in conjunction with the clinical trial program for sildenafil, and has since been adopted as the ‘gold standard’ measure for efficacy assessment in clinical trials of ED. It has been linguistically validated in 32 languages and used as a primary endpoint in more than 50 clinical trials. This review summarizes early stages in the psychometric validation of the instrument, its subsequent adoption in randomized clinical trials with sildenafil and other ED therapies, and its use in classifying ED severity and prevalence. The IIEF meets psychometric criteria for test reliability and validity, has a high degree of sensitivity and specificity, and correlates well with other measures of treatment outcome. It has demonstrated consistent and robust treatment responsiveness in studies in USA, Europe and Asia, as well as in a wide range of etiological subgroups. Although only one direct comparator trial has been performed to date, the IIEF is also sensitive to therapeutic effects with treatment agents other than sildenafil. A severity classification for ED has recently been developed, in addition to a brief screening version of the instrument. This review includes the strengths as well as limitations of the IIEF, along with some potential areas for future research.

Male sexual dysfunction after rectal cancer surgery

PURPOSE: The aims of the study were to determine the extent of male sexual dysfunction after surgical treatment of rectal cancer and to examine the outcome of postoperative treatment with sildenafil.

METHODS: A prospective study was performed in patients who underwent attempted curative total mesorectal excision (TME) for low rectal cancers. Sexual function scores were determined by questionnaire preoperatively and at 3 and 12 months postoperatively. Outcomes were examined in patients who were sexually active preoperatively.

RESULTS: From 2000 to 2007, 207 patients underwent TME at our institution, of whom 49 (24%) were sexually active preoperatively. Erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory problems were present in 80% and 82%, respectively of the 49 patients at 3 months postoperatively, and in 76% and 67%, respectively at 12 months. Lateral lymph node dissection was a strong risk factor for postoperative sexual dysfunction. The impotency rate was 37% and 47% of patients were unable to ejaculate. Sildenafil was administered to 16 patients who requested the drug during follow-up, and sexual dysfunction was improved in 11 of these patients (69%).

CONCLUSION: Sexual dysfunction occurs frequently after rectal cancer treatment and is mainly caused by surgical damage in lateral lymph node dissection. Sildenafil may be effective for the treatment of sexual dysfunction.

Risk factors for sexual dysfunction after rectal cancer treatment

This study aimed to identify risk factors for long-term sexual dysfunction (SD) after rectal cancer treatment. Patients with resectable rectal cancer were randomised to total mesorectal excision with or without preoperative radiotherapy (PRT). Preoperatively and at 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months postoperatively, SD scores were filled out in questionnaires. Possible risk factors for postoperative deterioration of sexual functioning, including patients’ demographics, tumour-specific factors and treatment-related variables, were investigated with univariate and multivariable regression analyses. Increase in general SD, erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory problems were reported by 76.4, 79.8 and 72.2 percent of the male patients, respectively. Risk factors were nerve damage, blood loss, anastomotic leakage, PRT and the presence of a stoma. In female patients, increase in general SD, dyspareunia and vaginal dryness were reported by 61.5, 59.1 and 56.6 percent, respectively. This was associated with PRT and the presence of a stoma. SD occurs frequently after rectal cancer treatment and is caused by surgical (nerve) damage with an additional effect of PRT. Patients should be informed preoperatively, and education of surgeons in neuroanatomy may provide the key to the improvement of functional outcome.

Sexuality After a Cancer Diagnosis: A Population-Based Study

Sexuality After a Cancer Diagnosis: A Population-Based Study

BACKGROUND: This study explored differences in sexual activity, function, and concerns between cancer survivors and cancer-free controls in a population-based study.

METHODS: The data were from 2982 men and 3708 women who were 50 years old or older and were participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Sexual well-being was assessed with the Sexual Relationships and Activities Questionnaire, and cancer diagnoses were self-reported.

RESULTS: There were no differences between cancer survivors and controls in levels of sexual activity (76.0% vs 78.5% for men and 58.2% vs 55.5% for women) or sexual function. Men and women with cancer diagnoses were more dissatisfied with their sex lives than controls (age-adjusted percentages: 30.9% vs 19.8% for men [P = .023] and 18.2% vs 11.8% for women [P = .034]), and women with cancer were more concerned about levels of sexual desire (10.2% vs 7.1%; P = .006). Women diagnosed < 5 years ago were more likely to report difficulty with becoming aroused (55.4% vs 31.8%; P = .016) and achieving orgasm (60.6% vs 28.3%; P < .001) and were more concerned about sexual desire (14.8% vs 7.1%; P = .007) and orgasmic experience (17.6% vs 7.1%; P = .042) than controls, but there were no differences in men.

CONCLUSIONS: Self-reports of sexual activity and functioning in older people with cancer are broadly comparable to age-matched, cancer-free controls. There is a need to identify the causes of sexual dissatisfaction among long-term cancer survivors despite apparently normal levels of sexual activity and function for their age. The development of interventions addressing low sexual desire and problems with sexual functioning in women is also important and may be particularly relevant for cancer survivors after treatment. Cancer 2016;122:3883-3891. © 2016 American Cancer Society.

The sexual health care needs after colorectal cancer: The view of patients, partners, and health care professionals

PURPOSE: Sexual dysfunction among patients with colorectal cancer is frequently reported. Studies examining patients’ sexual health care needs are rare. We examined the sexual health care needs after colorectal cancer treatment according to patients, partners, and health care professionals (HCPs). Factors that impede or facilitate the quality of this care were identified.

METHOD: Participants were recruited from three Dutch hospitals: St. Elisabeth, TweeSteden, and Catharina hospitals. Patients (n = 21), partners (n = 9), and 10 HCPs participated in eight focus groups.

RESULTS: It is important to regularly evaluate and manage sexual issues. This does not always occur. Almost all participants reported a lack of knowledge and feelings of embarrassment or inappropriateness as barriers to discuss sexuality. HCPs reported stereotypical assumptions regarding the need for care based on age, sex, and partner status. The HCPs debated on whose responsibility it is that sexuality is discussed with patients. Factors within the organization, such as insufficient re-discussion of sexuality during (long-term) follow-up and unsatisfactory (knowledge of the) referral system impeded sexual health care. The HCPs could facilitate adequate sexual health care by providing patient-tailored information and permission to discuss sex, normalizing sexual issues, and establishing an adequate referral system. It is up to the patients and partners to demarcate the extent of sexual health care needed.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings illustrate the need for patient-tailored sexual health care and the complexity of providing/receiving this care. An adequate referral system and training are needed to help HCPs engage in providing satisfactory sexual health care.