Main Article Content
Breast cancer, sexual function, Iran
Background: Sexual dysfunction in breast cancer patients is considered as a common and distressing problem. Considering the increasing number of breast cancer survivors living for longer periods of time with the disease and the importance of their quality of life, we conducted the present study to compare the sexual functioning in breast cancer patients with their healthy counterparts.
Methods: In this case-control study, breast cancer patients who completed their treatment protocol and were followed up for at least six months were included. The controls were healthy women with normal clinical breast examinations. All subjects filled-in the Persian version of Female Sexual Function Index questionnaire.
Results: A total of 165 subjects including 71 breast cancer patients and 94 healthy women were studied. The frequency of sexual dysfunction in cases and controls was 52.6% and 47.4%, respectively (P = 0.09). There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding domain scores, except for vaginal lubrication (P = 0.045). Logistic regression analysis indicated that significant determinants of sexual dysfunction in breast cancer group was patients' age (OR = 4.0, 95%CI: 1.3 – 11.5, P = 0.01) and age of the spouse (OR= 9.8, 95% CI: 1.8-51.9, P= 0.007), while in controls, only emotional relationship with the husband was the significant predictive factor (OR = 6.3, 95%CI: 1.9 – 20.5, P = 0.002).
Conclusions: Our findings indicated that sexual dysfunction is prevalent in Iranian women regardless of their physical health status. The frequency of vaginal dryness in breast cancer patients was significantly higher than controls. Age of the patient and the spouse (>40) were the only significant predictors of sexual dysfunction among women with breast cancer. Preventive strategies, sexual education and access to effective treatment should be planned in supportive care of breast cancer patients.