Researchers looking at whether women were more likely to experience sexual problems after breast cancer found that 70 percent of women were facing sexual function problems approximately two years post diagnosis.
Study author Mary Panjari, of the Women's Health Program at Monash University (Australia), explained that over 80 percent of all the women in the study described their sex life before breast cancer as good and satisfying. Amongst the partnered women aged 70 years or younger, with no active disease, 70 percent were experiencing sexual function problems.
Published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, the study notes that many of the women who experienced sexual problems had concerns about their body image after breast cancer. Also, specific treatments for breast cancer were more likely to be associated with menopausal symptoms, which can contribute to sexual problems.
Panjari says that adjuvant endocrine therapies, in particular aromatase inhibitors, can exacerbate these menopausal symptoms and affect sexual function. In women who were not on endocrine therapy, there was no association between sexual dysfunction and vasomotor symptoms.
"Women who have been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer still require support to maintain health and well-being after breast cancer," Panjari concludes. "As women now remain on aromatase inhibitors for longer periods, sexual function problems are likely to become more common amongst breast cancer survivors."
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Source: Journal of Sexual Medicine