Sexual dysfunction in young women with breast cancer
The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in young women with breast cancer in the Netherlands, and to assess the relationship between sexual dysfunction, treatment methods and treatment-related complaints. Also, the interest among women with breast cancer in receiving care for sexual dysfunction was determined.
Data on sexual functioning were collected through an internet questionnaire. Respondents were included if they had been diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 6 years and were currently 45 years of age or younger. Results were compared with a representative sample of the general Dutch population
Of the women who were still undergoing treatment, 64 % had a sexual dysfunction. In women who had completed treatment, this was 45 %. All assessed dysfunctions were more common among these young women with breast cancer in comparison with women in the Dutch population. Particularly, early menopause and hormone therapy caused long-term occurence of genital arousal disorder. Radical mastectomy caused long-term occurrence of female orgasmic disorder, and early menopause dyspareunia. Half of the women reported that the topic “changes in sexual functioning” had been brought up during treatment, mostly on the initiative of the health professional. Six out of 10 women with a sexual dysfunction who felt a need for care did not consult a health professional.
Sexual dysfunctions are highly prevalent among young women with breast cancer. This appears to improve after treatment has been completed, but women are far from recovered. The initiative to discuss sexuality should lie with the health professional. Including sexuality within treatment guidelines will prevent women with breast cancer from being deprived of care.
KeywordsBreast cancer Sexual dysfunction Cancer treatment Sexuality Prevalence Young women
- 1.Kennisnetwerk Integrale Kankercentra [Dutch Intelligence Cancer Network] (2011). http://www.ikcnet.nl/cijfers. Accessed 24 April 2011
- 10.Hopwood P, Haviland J, Mills J, Sumo G (2007) The impact of age and clinical factors on quality of life in early breast cancer: an analysis of 2,208 women recruited to the UK START Trial (Standardisation of Breast Radiotherapy Trial). Breast 16:241–251. doi:10.1016/j.breast.2006.11.003 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 14.American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edn. American Psychiatric Association, Washington DC, text revGoogle Scholar
- 15.Masters WH, Johnson VE (1966) Human sexual response. Brown, BostonGoogle Scholar
- 16.Masters WH, Johnson VE (1970) Human sexual inadequacy. Brown, BostonGoogle Scholar
- 18.Vroege JA (1994) Vragenlijst voor het signaleren van seksuele dysfuncties (VSD). 5de versie [Questionnaire on Screening for Sexual Dysfunctions (QSD). 5th version]. Academisch Ziekenhuis Utrecht, Afdeling Medische seksuologie/Nederlands Instituut voor Sociaal Sexuologisch Onderzoek, UtrechtGoogle Scholar
- 20.Borstkanker Vereniging Nederland (2003) Kwaliteitscriteria vanuit patiëntenperspectief voor onderzoek en behandeling van vrouwen en mannen met borstkanker [Quality criteria from a patient’s perspective for research and treatment of women and men with breast cancer]. Borstkanker Vereniging Nederland, UtrechtGoogle Scholar
- 21.CBO, Kwaliteitsinstituut voor de gezondheidszorg (2007) Conceptrichtlijn screening en diagnostiek van het mammacarcinoom [Concept guideline on screening and diagnosis of breast cancer]. CBO, UtrechtGoogle Scholar
- 22.CBO, Kwaliteitsinstituut voor de gezondheidszorg (2005) Richtlijn Behandeling Mammacarcinoom–herziene versie 2005 [Guideline on treatment for breast cancer, text rev.]. CBO, UtrechtGoogle Scholar
- 24.Bolle G (2002) Seksualiteitsbeleving na borstkankerdiagnose en behandeling [Sexual appraisal after breast cancer diagnose and treatment]. Tijdschr Seksuologie 26:131–137Google Scholar
- 30.Oratz R, Grana G, Burstein H, Spicer P, Messner C (2010) Advances in the treatment of breast cancer. Cancer Care, Elsevier OncologyGoogle Scholar