Sexual functioning among early post-treatment breast cancer survivors

This longitudinal, observational study aims to estimate the percentages of women with partners who are sexually active over the first 2 years post breast cancer diagnosis, identify factors related to sexual inactivity and evaluate the relationship between sexual problems and treatment-related variables. Breast cancer survivors were recruited within 8 months of diagnosis and followed for 18 months. At baseline, 52.4% of women reported being sexually active in the past month, increasing to 60.7% 18 months later. Sexual problems were assessed with the four item sexual problem domain of the Quality of Life in Adult Cancer Survivors (QLACS) scale. Sexually inactive women reported more problems on the QLACS scale than sexually active women. Analyses indicated that age, past chemotherapy, depressive symptoms and lower perceived attractiveness were related to sexual inactivity. Previous research has shown that sexual functioning is a key aspect of QOL for cancer survivors and it is often not addressed by health care professionals. Future studies should investigate these discussions between survivors and their GPs.

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