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Breast Cancer Has Sexual Impact on Both Survivors and Partners

Oct 31, 2017

The survivors’ average age was 51 years and an average of 38 months had passed since their breast cancer diagnosis. The vast majority of them were married or in a relationship. About two-thirds of the women started having sexual problems during their cancer treatment. Most had gone through menopause; for about half of that group, menopause had been induced by treatment.

The most common sexual dysfunction, affecting 83% of the women, was hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a distressing lack of sexual interest. Forty percent had trouble becoming aroused, and a third had pain during intercourse.

Some forms of treatment were associated with specific problems among the women. For example, HSDD was more frequent in women who had had hormone therapy. Immunotherapy, which uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer, was linked to painful intercourse.

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