Quality of Life of Patients Treated for Cervical Cancer


The presence of side effects such as fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, urinary incontinence, lymphedema, vaginal stenosis, lack of vaginal lubrication, dyspareunia, sleep disorders, stress, and depression are common and affect the quality of life of mostly young patients at diagnosis and this implies a long life with the effects secondary and sequelae of treatment. Decreased self-esteem, poor body image due to uterine removal in young women who have not completed childbearing and a negative impact on sexuality have been found in several studies. Some studies show more late side effects after radiation therapy than after surgery. Chemotherapy in combination with other modalities improves survival rates but increases the risk of side effects. As the overall survival of patients with cervical cancer improves, the importance of quality of life is increasingly recognized. Quality of life linked to health is defined by the World Health Organization as: "It is the perception that an individual has of his place in existence, in the context of the culture and value system in which he lives concerning his goals, expectations, standards, and concerns. It is a very broad concept influenced in a complex way by the physical health of the subject, his psychological state, his level of independence, his social relations as well as his relation to the essential elements of his environment".