COSMIN database

Assessment of sexual difficulties associated with multi-modal treatment for cervical or endometrial cancer: A systematic review of measurement instruments

White, I. D., Sangha, A., Lucas, G., and Wiseman, T.
BACKGROUND: Practitioners and researchers require an outcome measure that accurately identifies the range of common treatment-induced changes in sexual function and well-being experienced by women after cervical or endometrial cancer. This systematic review critically appraised the measurement properties and clinical utility of instruments validated for the measurement of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) in this clinical population.

METHODS: A bibliographic database search for questionnaire development or validation papers was completed and methodological quality and measurement properties of selected studies rated using the Consensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement Instrument (COSMIN) checklist.

RESULTS: 738 articles were screened, 13 articles retrieved for full text assessment and 7 studies excluded, resulting in evaluation of 6 papers; 2 QoL and 4 female sexual morbidity measures. Five of the six instruments omitted one or more dimension of female sexual function and only one instrument explicitly measured distress associated with sexual changes as per DSM V (APA 2013) diagnostic criteria. None of the papers reported measurement error, responsiveness data was available for only two instruments, three papers failed to report on criterion validity, and test-retest reliability reporting was inconsistent. Heterosexual penile-vaginal intercourse remains the dominant sexual activity focus for sexual morbidity PROMS terminology and instruments lack explicit reference to solo or non-coital sexual expression or validation in a non-heterosexual sample. Four out of six instruments included mediating treatment or illness items such as vaginal changes, menopause or altered body image.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) remains the most robust sexual morbidity outcome measure, for research or clinical use, in sexually active women treated for cervical or endometrial cancer. Development of an instrument that measures sexual dysfunction in women who are infrequently/not sexually active due to treatment consequences is still required to identify women in need of sexual rehabilitation.
Gynecol Oncol
Publication year:
Symptom status:
Emotional state
Physical state
Functional status:
Physical functioning
Social functioning
Overall quality of life:
Overall quality of life
Adults (18-65)
Neoplasms and related symptoms
PRO / non-PRO:
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
EORTC QLQ-CX24 - European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaires Cervical Cancer module
EORTC QLQ EN-24 - European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Endometrial Cancer Module
FSFI - Female Sexual Function Index (and FSFI-BC - Breast Cancer)
GLQ - Gynaecologic Leiden Questionnaire
SABIS-G - Sexual Adjustment and Body Image Scale-Gynecologic Cancer
SVQ - Sexual function-Vaginal changes Questionnaire