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Keywords:

  • body image;
  • breast cancer;
  • couple therapy;
  • mastectomy;
  • psychooncology;
  • sex therapy;
  • sexuality

Abstract

Background

Mastectomy poses a severe threat to body image and sexuality, interfering with the psychological well-being of both the patient and her partner. Although many psychotherapeutic approaches have been assessed and found effective in such patients, few studies have assessed couple or sex therapy in mastectomy patients.

Methods

We report on a structured combination of brief couples and sex therapy (CBPI) used in 20 women with in situ breast cancer and mastectomy and their partners. An equal number of mastectomy patients were used as controls.

Results

CBPI patients showed significant improvement in depression and state anxiety scores, as well as in body image, satisfaction with relationship, presumed attractiveness to their partner, orgasm frequency and communicating their desire.

Discussion/Conclusions

CBPI can be used as an effective alternative to individual or group psychotherapy for mastectomy patients. J. Surg. Oncol. 2007;96: 235–240. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.