Sexual function is a significant part of patients' quality of life, which is another important aspect of cancer. This study assessed and compared the sexual function of male esophageal cancer patients to that of age-matched normal controls through postoperative follow-up surveys.
The study included 105 male esophageal cancer patients aged 38–81 years who underwent a curative-intent esophagectomy between April 2012 and May 2014. This observational study included sociodemographic and clinicopathological characteristics and responses to sexual function questionnaires International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) at 6 and 12 months after surgery. An age-matched normal control group was recruited. Non-parametric tests were used when appropriate.
The median patient age was 59 years. The factors significantly associated with sexual dysfunction on the 6-month survey included older age, and postoperative complications. At 12 months after surgery, older age was significantly associated with poorer sexual function. The sexual function scores significantly increased from 6 to 12 months after surgery (P < 0.05); there was no difference in the patients’ 12-month sexual function scores and those of the normal controls (P > 0.05). Notably, compared to older patients (age ≥60 years), the younger (age <60 years) patients reported a significantly better sexual function scores (P < 0.05).
Age, and postoperative complications were the factors significantly associated with sexual function. Impaired sexual function after primary treatment can be recovered in male esophageal cancer patients; younger patients may regain sexual function better than their older counterparts.