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Intimacy Concerns for Breast Cancer Survivors

Intimacy Concerns for Breast Cancer Survivors2A new Indiana University study suggests young, female breast cancer survivors often suffer from sexual and intimate relationship issues.

Researchers found that a significant number of women reported vaginal dryness, genital pain, premature menopause, fatigue and fertility problems.

In addition, survivors experienced significant problems related to sexual arousal, desire and orgasm.

“Although previous work has documented the sexual difficulties faced by young breast cancer survivors, strikingly little work has addressed strategies women might take to address these sexual problems,” said Debby Herbenick, lead researcher and associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at IU Bloomington’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Herbenick adds that more than 2 million breast cancer survivors are living in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“Given advances in early detection and treatment, more women survive breast cancer, which requires researchers to focus on important relationship and quality of life issues for survivors,” said Jessica Johnston, executive director of The Patty Brisben Foundation.

Most of the women surveyed reported interest in using personal lubricants and massage lotions/oils to help treat these issues. Half of the women surveyed were interested in using vibrators or dildos and more than one-third were interested in sex games.

The women in the study also indicated comfort in purchasing sexual enhancement products through in-home parties held in someone’s own home or during one’s regular breast cancer support group meeting, and to a lesser extent from adult Web sites and adult bookstores or novelty stores. Researchers conclude that these venues might be possible places for nurses, doctors and support group leaders to refer their clients.

“Documenting the sexual problems experienced by survivors is important, but we also need to understand the broad and diverse ways that women want to address these sexual problems so that they can experience their intimate lives in ways that feel comfortable, pleasurable and that enhance their relationships,” said Herbenick.

“Many women expressed interest in these products, which makes sense given that so many had experienced genital pain, vaginal dryness, low desire or lack of orgasm.”

The report, “Young Female Breast Cancer Survivors: Their sexual function and interest in sexual enhancement products and services,” is published in the journal Cancer Nursing. The study was funded by The Patty Brisben Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering research related to women’s sexual health.

Source: Indiana University

Intimacy Concerns for Breast Cancer Survivors

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Intimacy Concerns for Breast Cancer Survivors. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/11/11/intimacy-concerns-for-breast-cancer-survivors/3314.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.