Women diagnosed with gynecologic cancers may experience reduced sexual activity after treatment, says a study led by an Indian-origin scientist.
The team observed that sexual activity was down from 6.1-6.8 times per month before treatment to 2.6-4.9 times per month post treatment.
Gynecological cancers include cancer of the cervix, uterus, ovaries, vagina and vulva.
"It is a topic that not many people want to talk about because it is uncomfortable," said Saketh Guntupalli, assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
"However, for us it is about maintaining the quality of life after treatment for couples that have gone through it."
These women undergo treatments including radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.
The study involving 315 women assessed sexual and marital dysfunction before and after cancer treatment.
In addition to showing an overall decrease in sexual frequency after cancer treatment, the data showed that younger, premenopausal women are at higher risk for sexual dysfunction.
So are women who received chemotherapy or are in committed relationships.
However, despite decreased sexual activity, the researchers found no accompanying increase in marital dysfunction.
"We think that if couples are given the option to go to counselling during cancer treatment it may help with their sexual health in the long run," Guntupalli explained.
The study was presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago recently.