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Keywords:

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

Abstract

Background

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.