Amelioration of sexual adverse effects in the early breast cancer patient

Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 94115, USA.
Journal of Cancer Survivorship (Impact Factor: 3.57). 09/2010; 4(3):247-55. DOI: 10.1007/s11764-010-0130-1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT As the number of breast cancer survivors increases, the long term consequences of breast cancer treatment are gaining attention. Sexual dysfunction is a common complaint amongst breast cancer survivors, and there are few evidence based recommendations and even fewer well designed clinical trials to establish what treatments are safe or effective in this patient population.
We conducted a PubMed search for articles published between 1995-2009 containing the terms breast cancer, sexual dysfunction, libido, vaginal dryness, testosterone, and vaginal estrogen. We initially reviewed articles focusing exclusively on sexual issues in breast cancer patients. Given the paucity of clinical trials addressing sexual issues in breast cancer patients, we also included studies evaluating both hormone and non-hormone based interventions for sexual dysfunction in post-menopausal women in general.
Among breast cancer survivors, vaginal dryness and loss of libido represent some of the most challenging long term side effects of breast cancer treatment. In the general post-menopausal population, topical preparations of estrogens and testosterone both appear to improve sexual function; however there are conflicting reports about the efficacy and safety of these interventions in women with a history of breast cancer, and further research is warranted.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: The purpose of this study was to understand the reported experiences of sexuality among Korean women who are breast cancer survivors. Methods: Participants of this study were 12 women who had breast cancer surgery. Data were collected October, 2010 to January, 2011 through in-depth interviews by using tape-recordings. Data were analyzed with Colaizzi's (1978) phenomenological methodology. Results: From significant statements, four categories, ten theme clusters and 32 themes were extracted from the essential meaning of the sexuality experience as reported by the women participants. Within the four categories were 'Negatively changed in sexuality', 'Feeling of great loss as a woman', 'Changed martial relations with husband', and 'Turning to the happy life'. 'Overcoming sexuality caused by distress and feeling of loss' was united from four categories. Conclusion: The results of this study could help contribute to provide educational program on sexuality to improve sexual well-being and quality of life of women with breast cancer survivors and their spouses.
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