• breast cancer;
  • sexual dysfunction;
  • quality of life;
  • side effect management;
  • oncology;
  • cancer



The breast cancer (BC) and its treatment (mastectomy, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy) have considerable psychosexual impacts on women's life. This study evaluated sexual functioning, quality of life, and self-esteem in young women with early-stage BC.


A total of 186 women with stage I or II BC and 204 age-matched controls aged 25–45 years were recruited. To be eligible, patients had to be disease-free and sexually active. They also had to have undergone lumpectomy at least 1 year previously and have completed chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Subjects completed Female Sexual Function Index, Short Form-36 Health Survey, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem questionnaire. Serum sex hormones were also measured in all subjects.


Of BC patients, 57% experienced lubrication disorder followed by satisfaction disorder in 53.8%, desire disorder in 42.5%, and arousal disorder in 37.0% (all patients vs. healthy controls <0.01). Hormone-treated patients were more likely to report sexual dysfunctions (p = 0.006). The radiotherapy + chemotherapy + hormone therapy was associated with an about sixfold increased risk of lubrication and satisfaction disorders (adjusted odds ratios = 6.4, 95%CI = 4.6–12.6, and adjusted odds ratios = 5.7, 95%CI = 3.4–11.4, respectively). Cancer patients had lower scores for all components of the Short Form-36 Health Survey, except for pain. Levels of self-esteem did not differ significantly between the two groups.


Young lumpectomized BC women reported a marked impairment in sexual functioning and quality of life.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.