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The impact of vaginal dilator use on vaginal stenosis and sexual quality of life in women treated with adjuvant radiotherapy for endometrial cancer


Akbaba, Sati; Oelmann-Avendano, Jan T; Krug, David; Arians, Nathalie; Bostel, Tilman; Hoerner-Rieber, Juliane; Nicolay, Nils H; Debus, Juergen; Lindel, Katja; Foerster, Robert (2019). The impact of vaginal dilator use on vaginal stenosis and sexual quality of life in women treated with adjuvant radiotherapy for endometrial cancer. Strahlentherapie und Onkologie, 195(10):902-912.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Despite a lack of evidence and low compliance, current guidelines recommend the use of a vaginal dilator (VD) after pelvic radiotherapy (RT). We analyzed the effect of VD on vaginal stenosis (VS) and its influence on sexual quality of life (QoL) in women treated with adjuvant RT for endometrial cancer (EC).
METHODS: Between 2014 and 2015, 56 consecutive patients were instructed to use a VD after completion of treatment. The maximum diameter of the comfortably introducible VD was measured before and at 1 year after treatment. The degree of VS was evaluated clinically, and sexual QoL was assessed with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) sexual functioning items before RT, during RT, at 6 weeks, and at 1 year after RT.
RESULTS: One year after RT, mean VD diameter had decreased by 2.7 ± 3.2 mm (p < 0.001) and 36 patients (64.3%) had clinical VS (grade I-III). A larger decrease in VD diameter correlated with a higher degree of clinical VS (p < 0.001). VD use (p = 0.81), RT modality (p = 0.68), and adjuvant ChT (p = 0.87) had no influence on VD diameter. Sexual activity decreased during RT and increased beyond pre-RT values 1 year after RT (p < 0.001). Sexual enjoyment decreased continuously during and after completion of RT (p = 0.013) and was influenced negatively by a higher degree of clinical VS (p = 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Almost two thirds of patients developed clinical VS 1 year after adjuvant RT for EC, and sexual enjoyment was substantially reduced by VS. The use of a VD after RT may not serve to prevent sexual impairments and VS.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Despite a lack of evidence and low compliance, current guidelines recommend the use of a vaginal dilator (VD) after pelvic radiotherapy (RT). We analyzed the effect of VD on vaginal stenosis (VS) and its influence on sexual quality of life (QoL) in women treated with adjuvant RT for endometrial cancer (EC).
METHODS: Between 2014 and 2015, 56 consecutive patients were instructed to use a VD after completion of treatment. The maximum diameter of the comfortably introducible VD was measured before and at 1 year after treatment. The degree of VS was evaluated clinically, and sexual QoL was assessed with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) sexual functioning items before RT, during RT, at 6 weeks, and at 1 year after RT.
RESULTS: One year after RT, mean VD diameter had decreased by 2.7 ± 3.2 mm (p < 0.001) and 36 patients (64.3%) had clinical VS (grade I-III). A larger decrease in VD diameter correlated with a higher degree of clinical VS (p < 0.001). VD use (p = 0.81), RT modality (p = 0.68), and adjuvant ChT (p = 0.87) had no influence on VD diameter. Sexual activity decreased during RT and increased beyond pre-RT values 1 year after RT (p < 0.001). Sexual enjoyment decreased continuously during and after completion of RT (p = 0.013) and was influenced negatively by a higher degree of clinical VS (p = 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Almost two thirds of patients developed clinical VS 1 year after adjuvant RT for EC, and sexual enjoyment was substantially reduced by VS. The use of a VD after RT may not serve to prevent sexual impairments and VS.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Radiation Oncology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:October 2019
Deposited On:13 Feb 2020 15:42
Last Modified:13 Feb 2020 15:43
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0179-7158
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00066-019-01466-1
PubMed ID:30997541

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