Men experienced a marked improvement in their sexual function for up to one year, and women who started out with a sexual problem improved significantly with counseling.
"We know that one of the crucial factors in a man's having a good sexual outcome after treatment is a partner who also wants their sex life to get better," said Doctor Leslie Schover , lead investigator on the study. "Women's issues such as ill health, post-menopausal vaginal dryness and lack of desire for sex can be a major barrier in achieving satisfactory sexual outcomes."
CAREss (Counseling About Regaining Erections and Sexual Satisfaction) randomized 115 heterosexual prostate cancer survivors who were experiencing erectile dysfunction and their partners into three groups: a wait list group that received delayed counseling, a face-to-face counseling group, and a group that received an Internet-based sexual counseling program.
After three months, the wait-list couples were randomized into either the face-to face or the Internet-based counseling group. A second Internet-based group of 71 couples was added to boost the numbers and allow researchers to analyze the relationship between extent of website use and outcomes.
Couples were assessed before and after the three-month wait-list period, again after counseling, and also at six and 12-month follow-ups. In addition to web-based education and exercises, participants in the Internet-based group received feedback from their counselor through email.
Many prostate cancer survivors are as concerned about loss of desire and lack of satisfying orgasms as they are about erectile dysfunction. Men in this study improved on most dimensions of sexual function. From baseline to one year, men improved significantly in erectile function, but also in orgasmic function, intercourse satisfaction and overall sexual satisfaction. Sexual desire remained stable.
MEDICA.de; Source: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center