Kåre Andersson Gotschalck

Long-term anorectal, urinary and sexual dysfunction causing distress after radiotherapy for anal cancer: a Danish multicentre cross-sectional questionnaire study

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  • K G Sunesen
  • M Nørgaard
  • ,
  • L Lundby
  • ,
  • H Havsteen
  • ,
  • S Buntzen
  • ,
  • O Thorlacius-Ussing, Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery A, Aalborg University Hospital
  • ,
  • S Laurberg

AIM: The objective of primary radiotherapy for anal cancer is to remove cancer while maintaining anorectal function. However, little is known about anorectal function among long-term survivors without colostomy. Using a cross-sectional questionnaire study, we examined symptoms and distress related to the dysfunction of pelvic organs after radiotherapy for anal cancer.

METHOD: A questionnaire regarding anorectal, urinary and sexual symptoms was sent to anal cancer patients without recurrence or colostomy, diagnosed during 1996-2003, and treated with curative intent (chemo)radiotherapy at three Danish centres. For each symptom we assessed frequency and severity and the level of symptom-induced distress (no, little, moderate or great distress).

RESULTS: Of 94 eligible patients, 84 (89%) returned the completed questionnaire at a median of 33 months after radiotherapy. Incontinence for solid stools, liquid stools and gas occurred at least monthly in 31%, 54% and 79% of patients, respectively. Overall 40% of patients reported great distress from incontinence for solid or liquid stools at least monthly. Faecal urgency occurring at least monthly was experienced by 87% of patients and caused great distress in 43%. Stress, urge or another type of urinary incontinence occurred at least monthly in 45% and caused great distress in 21%. Urinary urgency occurred at least monthly in 48% but only caused great distress in 14%. Sexual desire was severely decreased in 58% and only 24% were satisfied with their sexual function.

CONCLUSION: Distressing long-term anorectal and sexual dysfunction was common after radiotherapy for anal cancer, and morbidity due to urinary dysfunction was moderate.

TidsskriftColorectal Disease
Sider (fra-til)O230-9
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2015

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