Journal scan

Childhood cancer treatment can affect psychosexual development in later life

Adults who received treatments for childhood cancer that were especially toxic to the nervous system are less likely to have had sexual intercourse, be in a relationship or have children, new research suggests. 
Child_Cancer-iStock.jpg

Adults who received treatments for childhood cancer that were especially toxic to the nervous system are less likely to have had sexual intercourse, be in a relationship or have children, new research suggests.

Researchers in the US studied 144 young adult survivors of childhood cancer who completed questionnaires about psychosexual development, sexual satisfaction and satisfaction with their relationship status. Medical data was used to rate the neurotoxicity of the treatment they received as children.

When the results were compared with 144 matched control subjects, the researchers found that childhood cancer survivors who received high-dose neurotoxic treatments reported the lowest rates of achieving milestones of psychosexual development. However, this did not mean they were necessarily less satisfied than others, the study authors said.

Subjective nature

...

Adults who received treatments for childhood cancer that were especially toxic to the nervous system are less likely to have had sexual intercourse, be in a relationship or have children, new research suggests. 


Childhood cancer survivors who received high-dose neurotoxic treatments were less likely
to be psychosexually developed as adults. Picture: iStock 

Researchers in the US studied 144 young adult survivors of childhood cancer who completed questionnaires about psychosexual development, sexual satisfaction and satisfaction with their relationship status. Medical data was used to rate the neurotoxicity of the treatment they received as children. 

When the results were compared with 144 matched control subjects, the researchers found that childhood cancer survivors who received high-dose neurotoxic treatments reported the lowest rates of achieving milestones of psychosexual development. However, this did not mean they were necessarily less satisfied than others, the study authors said.

Subjective nature

11 

young people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer every day, the leading cause of death in children, teenagers and young adults.

Source: Cancer Research UK 

‘This highlights the subjective nature of psychosexual issues and the importance of addressing any concerns in survivorship care,’ said lead study author Vicky Lehmann. 

She added that a rating system for the neurotoxicity of childhood cancer treatment could be used as a checklist in clinical practice to detect those who are potentially at higher risk for impaired psychosexual outcomes. 


Lehmann V et al (2017) Psychosexual Development and Satisfaction in Long-Term Survivors of Childhood Cancer: Neurotoxic Treatment Intensity as a Risk Indicator. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30513. 

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs