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Oberguggenberger-self reported sexual health BMC Cancer Aug 2017.pdf (725.47 kB)

Self-reported sexual health: breast cancer survivors compared to women from the general population - an observational study

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posted on 2023-06-09, 07:53 authored by Anne Oberguggenberger, Caroline Martini, Nathalie Huber, Lesley FallowfieldLesley Fallowfield, Michael Hubalek, Martin Daniaux, Barbara Sperner-Unterweger, Bernhard Holzner, Monika Sztankay, Eva Gamper, Verena Meraner
BACKGROUND: Cancer survivorship is of increasing importance in post-treatment care. Sexual health (SH) and femininity can be crucial issues for women surviving cancer. We aimed to determine a more complete understanding of the contribution that a breast cancer (BC) diagnosis and its treatment exert on patients' follow-up SH. For this purpose, self-reported levels and predictors of SH in breast cancer survivors (BCS) were compared with those of women with no previous or current BC (WNBC). METHODS: BCS and WNBC underwent a comprehensive, cross-sectional patient-reported outcome (PRO) assessment. Validated PRO instruments were used to measure SH, body image, anxiety and depression and menopausal symptoms. Assessments were performed within the routine clinical setting. Instruments used were the Sexual Interest and Desire Inventory - Female, Sexual Activity Questionnaire, Body Image Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire. RESULTS: One hundred five BCS (average time since diagnosis of 3 years) and 97 WNBC with a mean age of 49 years completed the assessment. SH was significantly worse in BCS compared to WNBC (p = 0.005; BCS SIDI-F mean = 24.9 vs. WNBC mean = 29.8). 68.8% of BCS and 58.8% of WNBC met criteria of a hypo-active sexual desire disorder. Higher depressive symptoms, higher age and lower partnership satisfaction were predictive for poorer SH in BCS. CONCLUSION: SH problems are apparent in BCS and differ significantly from those seen in the general population. Consequently, BC survivorship care should include interventions to ameliorate sexual dysfunction and provide help with depressive symptoms and partnership problems, which are associated with poor BCS SH.


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