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Sexual Functioning and Body Image of Patients Treated for Ovarian Cancer



The aim of the study was to determine differences in sexual functioning and body image of patients treated for ovarian cancer, depending on treatment modality: surgery, surgery in combination with chemotherapy or chemotherapy alone.

Patients and Methods

A total of 483 patients treated for ovarian cancer between 1995 and 2005 completed the questionnaire 2–6 months after finishing the treatment. Patients were divided into three groups. The first group consisted of 156 patients with early ovarian cancer, treated only surgically with hysterectomy and bilateral salphingoophorectomy. The second group consisted of 238 patients with advanced stages of ovarian cancer that were treated surgically in combination with chemotherapy. The third group consisted of 89 patients with advanced inoperable or metastatic ovarian cancer who were treated with chemotherapy alone.


A significant number of patients in all three groups (group 1, 2 and 3) was satisfied with their sexual life before the treatment (74.36%, 69.33% and 71.91% respectively). Patients whose sexual life got worse after the treatment in all three study groups were numerous (group 1, 2 and 3—28.85%, 46.64% and 47.19%, respectively) and most intensively affected patients in groups 2 and 3 (p < 0.05). Most of the patients in group 1, 2 and 3 found their partners to have the same (33.33%, 34.87% and 44.94%, respectively) or even better (32.69%, 36.56% and 25.84%, respectively) attitude towards them, and described them as very supportive and tender. Most of the patients in all three treatment groups (51.28%, 54.62% and 52.81%, respectively, p > 0.05) found their body image different after the treatment, but not mutilated.


These findings support and extend previous reports of impaired sexual functioning among patients treated for ovarian cancer. Sexual functioning of the patients with more advanced disease stages, who were treated by combination of surgery and chemotherapy or chemotherapy alone, was more jeopardized than those with disease detected in an early stage and treated by surgery alone. Problems in sexual functioning appear to be related to the consequence of artificial menopause symptoms and the extent of disease.

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Correspondence to Zlatko Hrgović.

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Buković, D., Silovski, H., Silovski, T. et al. Sexual Functioning and Body Image of Patients Treated for Ovarian Cancer. Sex Disabil 26, 63–73 (2008).

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  • Ovarian cancer
  • Sexual life
  • Sexual functioning
  • Body image