Background: Longitudinal studies examining sexuality, body image and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in middle-aged and elderly patients treated with chemotherapy or chemoimmunotherapy for hematologic malignancies are lacking. The aim of this study was to describe and explore changes in sexuality, body image and HRQoL in patients treated
for hematologic malignancies, from baseline until twelve months after treatment.
Material and Methods: Patients above 45 years treated for Diffuse large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) or Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Data were collected at baseline (n = 32), one (n = 25), six (n = 20) and 12 months (n = 19) after treatment by means of three instruments: The Sexual Adjustment Questionnaire (SAQ), The
Body Image Scale (BIS) and The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30, version 3). Descriptive- and non-parametric statistics were used.
Results: One month after treatment scores were lowered regarding sexual interest (P = 0.005), sexual function (P = 0.031), sexual satisfaction (P = 0.016, P = 0.004) and sexual relationship. After six months the patient reported scores had returned almost entirely to baseline scores, except for sexual relationship. At 12 months, sexual relationship was still negatively affected. Body image was reported to be affected in a low extent during
the study period. After six and 12 months, body image was reported to not be affected at all by 50% and 53%, respectively. However, women reported body-image to be more affected than men at one (P = 0.01) and 12 months (p = 0.021). Regarding HRQoL, patients reported gradually statistically significant improved scores during the study period.
Conclusion: In this study, sexuality, body image and HRQoL became negatively affected in patients with hematologic malignancies 45 years and older during treatment. Improvements were gradually seen after treatment, but the scores regarding sexual relationship were still affected after one year. Although sexual interest was reported to be low this finding highlights the need of support to these patients regarding sexuality during follow-up care. Furthermore, body image was more affected in women than in men indicating that interventions should be adjusted for sex. This was a small study and future studies with larger sample are needed.
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 51, S252- p.
Sexuality, body image, healt realted quality of life, cancer patients, hematologic malignancies