IMR Press / EJGO / Volume 42 / Issue 6 / DOI: 10.31083/j.ejgo4206178
Open Access Original Research
Sexual, psychological, interpersonal well-being and (unmet) supportive care needs of couples after a gynecological cancer treatment
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1 Faculty of Medicine, Geneva University, 1206 Geneva, Switzerland
2 Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, Geneva University Hospitals, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
Eur. J. Gynaecol. Oncol. 2021, 42(6), 1228–1235;
Submitted: 8 April 2021 | Revised: 23 April 2021 | Accepted: 1 June 2021 | Published: 15 December 2021
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Objectives: To assess the sexual and psychosocial functioning of couples after a gynecological cancer treatment and their (unmet) supportive care needs. Methods: Patients treated for a gynecological cancer at the Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland between January 2012 and September 2019 and their partners completed self-reported validated questionnaires on anxiety, depression, sexual function, relationship satisfaction, sexual communication and (unmet) supportive care needs. Results: Sixteen couples participated in the study. Mean age was 59.5 (range 46–72) for women and 63 (range 50–76) for men. The mean duration since treatment was 3 years (range = 1–7). 38% of women and 33% of men reported moderate to high levels of anxiety whereas 18, 75% of women and no men suffered from moderate to severe depression. Sixty percent of patients reported a sexual dysfunction and 40% reported significant sexual distress. Eighteen percent of men reported an erectile dysfunction and 33% reported a significant sexual distress. Whereas most couples were satisfied about their relationship, difficulties in sexual communication were expressed. Receiving psychological support, information and help with the changes in the sexual life were the most widely supported care needs. Although the highest domains of unmet needs were in the informational, relational and physical domain, more than 50% of couples reported unmet needs in the sexual domain. Conclusion: Gynecological cancer negatively affects the psychosexual well-being of couples. Support during and after treatment should take psychological and sexual aspects and the partner perspective into account.

Gynecological cancer
Sexual function
Psychological well-being
Couple relationship
Unmet supportive care needs
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