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Prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in women with suspected gynecological malignancy: a survey-based study

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Introduction and hypothesis

Understanding of pelvic floor disorders among women with gynecological cancer is limited. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in women with suspected gynecological malignancy before surgery.


A cross-sectional study was performed of women aged ≥18 with a suspected gynecological malignancy who enrolled in the University of North Carolina Health Registry/Cancer Survivorship Cohort (HR/CSC) from August 2012 to June 2013. Demographics were obtained from the HR/CSC self-reported data; clinical data were abstracted from the electronic medical record. Subjects completed validated questionnaires (Rotterdam Symptom Checklist and the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Female Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms) to assess bladder and bowel function.


Among 186 women scheduled for surgery for gynecological malignancy, 152 (82 %) completed baseline assessments before surgery. Mean age was 58.1 ± 13.3 years, and mean BMI was 33.6 ± 8.8 kg/m2. The majority of subjects had uterine cancer (61.8 %), followed by ovarian (17.1 %) and cervical (11.1 %). At baseline, the rate of urinary incontinence (UI) was 40.9 %. A third of subjects reported stress UI, and one quarter reported urge UI. The overall rate of fecal incontinence was 3.9 %, abdominal pain was 47.4 %, constipation was 37.7 %, and diarrhea was 20.1 %. When comparing cancer types, there were no differences in pelvic floor symptoms.


Pelvic floor disorders are common in women with suspected gynecological malignancy at baseline before surgery. Recognizing pelvic floor disorders in the preoperative setting will allow for more individualized, comprehensive care for these women.

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Correspondence to C. Emi Bretschneider.

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J.M.W. reports personal fees from Proctor and Gamble, outside of the submitted work. The remaining authors report no conflicts of interest.

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Bretschneider, C.E., Doll, K.M., Bensen, J.T. et al. Prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in women with suspected gynecological malignancy: a survey-based study. Int Urogynecol J 27, 1409–1414 (2016).

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