BACKGROUND: Cancer-related sexual dysfunction has been reported among adolescents and young adults (AYAs); however, its prevalence over time has not been examined. This longitudinal study investigated sexual dysfunction in AYAs over the course of 2 years after the initial diagnosis. METHODS: Young adult patients (18-39 years old) completed the Medical Outcomes Study Sexual Functioning Scale within the first 4 months of their diagnosis (n = 123) and again 6 (n = 107) and 24 months later (n = 95). An ordered multinomial response model analyzed changes in the probability of reporting sexual dysfunction over time and the independent effects of demographic, clinical, and psychosocial variables. RESULTS: More than half of the participants reported sexual functioning to be problematic at each assessment. The probability of reporting sexual dysfunction increased over time (P <.01) and was greater for cancer patients who were female (P <.001), older (P <.01), married or in a committed relationship (P <.001), treated with chemotherapy (P <.05), and reporting comorbid psychological distress (P <.001) and lower social support (P <.05). For women, being in a relationship increased the likelihood of reporting sexual problems over time; for men, the likelihood of reporting sexual problems increased regardless of their relationship status. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial proportion of young adults report ongoing problems with sexual functioning in the first 2 years after their cancer diagnosis. These findings justify the need to evaluate and monitor sexual functioning throughout a continuum of care. Cancer 2018;124:398-405.
- adolescents and young adults (AYAs)
- sexual functioning
- young adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research