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Cancer Treatment Effects on Sexual Function Proposal

Introduction and Background

Cancer is among the most challenging diseases for contemporary medical science. Despite numerous researches, its causes cannot be explained properly, and it is impossible to predict. However, if diagnosed in the initial stage, cancer can be successfully treated with both invasive and non-invasive methods. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or targeted therapy, and immunotherapy can be applied. Cancer treatment is complex and changes the patient’s quality of life. A particular concern of men and women, especially with cancer located in the pelvic area, is the influence of treatment on sexual function. O’Shaughnessy, Ireland, Pelentsov, Thomas, and Esterman (2013) provided research on the impact of cancer treatments on sexual dysfunction. Hunter (2014) analyzed the influence of cervical cancer treatment on the sexual function and intimate relationships of participants. A study by Katz and Dizon (2016) established a model aimed at the understanding of men’s sexuality. Kim et al. (2012) examined sexual functioning and the control of the disease among testicular cancer survivors.

Purpose and Problem Statement

The purpose of the research is to discover the influence that cancer treatment has on sexual function. It is known that cancer treatment always influences other healthy organs and systems. It is necessary to study this influence to find ways to fight its consequences. Besides, such studies may have further development in the researches aimed to reduce bad impact. The hypothesis is that different methods of cancer treatment are harmful to sexual function. The problem of the research can be stated as sexual dysfunction among cancer survivors as a result of treatment. This problem is important since cancer is a widespread disease among both men and women. Some patients recover and may return to the usual life. Nevertheless, the method used to kill cancer cells negatively affect the human organism function. As cancer frequently happens among young people, the preservation of sexual function after successful rehabilitation is necessary for a full life. The role of nursing should also be mentioned here in the context of post-treatment recovery.

Literature Review

O’Shaughnessy et al. (2013) studied sexual functions and relationships in men diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer. The methods of focused groups and interviews were used to assess the impact of treatment with hormone therapy, brachytherapy, and surgery on men’s intimate relationships, sexuality, and masculinity. The participants reported they experienced the feelings of masculinity loss. Still, due to the emotional and psychological support, they coped with it. Interviewees also mentioned that inability to show love and desire to the partner through sex was emotional and physical probation for the relationship.

Hunter (2014) refers to the analysis of the influence of cervical cancer treatment on the sexual function and intimate relationships of women. The author used a narrative interview method to question twelve research participants. These women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation or radiation and surgery were used as treatment methods for them. The research disclosed the fact that problems of intimacy and sex were not discussed among cervical cancer survivors. Moreover, raising the question was considered inappropriate. As a result, the patients were not prepared for the possible consequences of treatment. The lack of attention to the issue caused emotional problems among women and their partners.

The research by Katz and Dizon (2016) is dedicated to the changes in the sexual functioning of men with cancer. They worked out a biopsychosocial model that presents a man’s sexuality in the broader sense. It comprises life, sexual identity, and emotional state, thus making sexual dysfunction, not just a biomedical issue. The statistical information provided in the article proves the decrease in sexual activity after the cancer diagnosis. It does not depend on the type of cancer or the affected and type of treatment. The suggested model of mem’s sexuality presents various factors that influence a man’s sexuality after cancer and explains the changes in body and mind due to cancer.

Kim et al. (2012) provided a qualitative study of men of reproductive age affected by testicular cancer. The research was conducted among American military testicular cancer survivors and analyze whether the disease damaged their sexual functioning. There were 482 participants divided into two groups: the testicular cancer cases, and a control group with equal ethnic and age characteristics. Then research revealed that sexual function cancer survivors were more damaged than that of a control group. Besides, the dysfunction differed depending on the provided treatment.

Conceptual and Theoretical Framework

It is certain that cancer treatment has side-effects. They differ depending on the selected therapy and the person. Some individuals observe many side-effects while others have just a few. They may appear in any part of the organism. The study of previous researches supports the idea of cancer treatment’s influence on sexual function. This impact is negative, often resulting in dysfunction of partial damage to sexual function. The effect is evident in both male and female cancer survivors and depends on the methods of treatment. Thus, the research comprises the concepts of cancer treatment and sexual function.

Limitations and Definitions

The research has certain limitations. As it is based on the limited investigations, the results may be considered valid related to the cases described. There is no proof that the impact of cancer treatment will be the same in different types of cancer and other groups of patients.

Sexual Function can be defined as a system of psychological aspects of sexuality which include sexual awakening, sexual longing, and sexual fantasies.

Sexual Dysfunction in its turn is the lack of ability to take pleasure in sexual relations. In fact, sexual dysfunction is a disorder intervening in the course of sexual reactions. Consequently, people with this disorder cannot enjoy or, in more complicated cases, have sexual relations.

Research Method and Design

It is a qualitative research based on the study of recent investigations on the effects of cancer treatment on sexual functioning. The research is designed as the study of the literature on the topic of cancer treatment influence on sexual function with its further analysis.

Data Collection Methods, Procedures and Analysis

Literature analysis was used as a method of qualitative analysis. The tools of analytic induction, quasi-statistics, and case-study were applied. The procedure included the selection of suitable recent peer-reviewed articles representing the results of researches on the topic. The analysis part of the research includes the comparison of the obtained results with the hypothesis and suggests the possible reasons for them. A topic for further research may be the assistance in the emotional and physical recovery of patients after the cancer treatment.


Hunter, J.L. (2014) Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 4, 479-490. Web.

Katz, A., & Dizon, D. S. (2016). Sexuality after cancer: A model for male survivors. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13(1), 70-78. Web.

Kim, C., McGlynn, K. A., McCorkle, R., Li, Y., Erickson, R. L., Ma, S., … Zhang, Y. (2012). Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 73(1), 68–73. Web.

O’Shaughnessy, P. K., Ireland, C., Pelentsov, L., Thomas, L. A. & Esterman, A. J. (2013), Impaired sexual function and prostate cancer: A mixed method investigation into the experiences of men and their partners. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22, 3492–3502. Web.

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"Cancer Treatment Effects on Sexual Function." IvyPanda, 15 Nov. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/cancer-treatment-effects-on-sexual-function/.

1. IvyPanda. "Cancer Treatment Effects on Sexual Function." November 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cancer-treatment-effects-on-sexual-function/.


IvyPanda. "Cancer Treatment Effects on Sexual Function." November 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cancer-treatment-effects-on-sexual-function/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Cancer Treatment Effects on Sexual Function." November 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cancer-treatment-effects-on-sexual-function/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Cancer Treatment Effects on Sexual Function'. 15 November.

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