Sexology pp 279-282 | Cite as

Gynecological Cancer and Sexual Disturbances

  • D. Richter
Conference paper


Treatment of gynecological carcinomas has progressed enormously, achieving considerable cure and survival rates. Nevertheless, the prejudice of being incurable continues to be held against this disease, and it also continues to be closely associated with the attributes of sinister, treacherous, and incalculable. In an unrestrained consumer society in which youth and beauty, health, and vitality are glorified above all else, the notions of physical invalidism and incurable disease are pushed into the background, and the problem of death is taboo. These social conditions promote fear of cancer as well as it is fatalistically regarded as a disease with a fatal outcome. Neither extensive preventive medical programs nor health education campaigns have changed this very much. Far-reaching therapeutic measures such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy change and deform the body and lead to serious damage of self-esteem. Female cancer patients feel devalued, socially and emotionally no longer capable of communication, socially isolated, and sexually unattractive. In fact, even though they are pitied to a certain extent, they are often shunned at work, by friends, yes even by their own family and beloved partner. Thus, to have cancer not only means fear of being in the hands of a treacherous disease, but especially fear of social isolation and of losing recognition and affection. Beyond the individual psychological disorder of the female patient, the diagnosis of cancer leads to damage in the family and environmental situation.


Sexual Intercourse Genital Organ Consumer Society Sexual Disorder Positive Body Image 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Richter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyDistrict HospitalBad SäckingenGermany

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