In a nutshell
This study aimed to investigate if childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia affected sexual functioning in young male survivors.
This study concluded that men who had childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia had reduced sexual functioning when compared to men with no history of cancer.
Male survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are at risk of infertility, poor semen quality and gonadal dysfunction (testes). There have not been many studies investigating the sexual functioning of ALL survivors. Three recent studies noted sexual dysfunction in 33% of participants. It was not known if there was a significant difference in sexual functioning between healthy males and males who had survived ALL.
Methods & findings
This study involved 52 males who had childhood ALL 10 or more years ago. It also involved a control group of 56 men with no history of cancer. Both groups completed a survey on sexual function.
The ALL group had an overall poorer sexual functioning when compared to the control group.
Both groups had similar frequencies of sexual fantasies and full erections. The ALL group had less frequent sexual activity with a partner, poorer self-rated orgasms and lower sex life satisfaction when compared to the control group.
Indicators of poorer sexual functioning were depression, absence of relationship, and teste size. This indicated gonadal damage from anti-leukemia therapy.
The bottom line
This study concluded that a late effect of childhood ALL is a decline in sexual function at an early adult age. The authors suggested that sexual health should be monitored in survivors.
The fine print
The limitation to this study is that the control group were not randomly selected.
Consult your physician if you have concerns about your sexual functioning.
Published By :
May 12, 2016