Sexual quality of life, body image distress, and psychosocial outcomes in colorectal cancer: a longitudinal study

Jennifer Barsky Reese, Elizabeth Handorf, Jennifer A. Haythornthwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The objectives were to assess changes in sexual QOL and body image distress over time and to examine longitudinal associations between sexual QOL and body image variables with psychosocial outcomes in a sample of colorectal cancer patients. Methods: Participants (N = 141) completed a mail-based survey assessing sexual QOL [sexual distress (ISS), treatment impact on sexual function (SFQ), sexual function (FSFI; IIEF)], body image distress (BIS), and psychosocial outcomes [relationship quality (DAS-4), depressive symptoms (CESD-SF), and health-related QOL (HRQOL; FACT-C)]; 88 patients completed 6-month follow-up surveys (62%). Gender and cancer subgroups (male vs. female; rectal vs. colon cancer) were compared and longitudinal models examined associations between sexual QOL and body image variables with psychosocial outcomes over time and by subgroup. Results: Impairments in sexual QOL and body image distress were common. Women and patients with rectal cancer reported worse body image distress compared to men (p =.005) and those with colon cancer (p =.03), respectively; compared to patients with colon cancer, those with rectal cancer reported worse treatment impact (p <.001) and marginally worse sexual function and HRQOL (p’s =.05). At 6-month follow-up, body image distress decreased (p =.02), while sexual QOL was stable (e.g., 58% classified as dysfunctional at both time points, p =.13). For most sexual and body image predictors, worse impairment was associated with worse psychosocial outcomes over time. Several significant gender and cancer subgroup effects were found. Conclusions: Sexual QOL and body image are compromised after colorectal cancer and tend to remain impaired if unaddressed. Sexual concerns should be addressed early to limit broader-reaching psychosocial effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3431-3440
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume26
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Relationship quality
  • Sexual function
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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