Breast Cancer's Sexual Side Effects

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • Imagine being young and in a serious relationship or recently married or just dreaming of Prince Chaming.  Imagine getting a diagnosis of breast cancer and even advanced breast cancer, since breast cancer that hits younger women typically is aggressive.  Imagine navigating rather serious treatments - maybe surgery, maybe radiation, maybe chemotherapy or a combination of these.  It shouldn't come as a surprise that these young women also suffer from sexual and intimate relationship issues.


    In fact, a study - The Young Female Breast Cancer Survivors: Their sexual function and interest in sexual enhancement products and services, was  just published on November 4th in the journal, Cancer Nursing.  The study found that a significant number of these women reported:

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    • Vaginal dryness
    • Genital pain
    • Premature menopause
    • Fatigue
    • Fertility issues
    • Decreased sexual arousal, desire, orgasm

    And though experts have known about these issues for quite awhile, little has been done to address them or to offer strategies for these women to use, to help them cope with these issues.  Given that as as many as 2 million breast cancer survivors live in the US and that much is spent on detection and treatment - it's actually quite discouraging that more efforts are not being made to address these problems - since quality of life and normalcy very much depends on a good sex life.


    Most of the women surveyed in this study reported interest in using lubricants, massage lotions and oils and half of the women surveyed were willing to consider using vibrators or dildos and 1/3 of the women were willing to consider playing sex games.  The study participants indicated that they would prefer getting these items from home parties rather than frequenting a sex shoppe or ordering from an internet site.  And doctors, nurses and other health professionals should be aware of these needs and help facilitate them.

Published On: November 16, 2008