In a nutshell
This paper studied the impact of endocrine therapy on sexual function in postmenopausal patients with breast cancer.
Endocrine therapy is used in the treatment of hormone receptor positive early breast cancer. Hormone receptor positive breast cancer is cancer which has an abundant presence of the estrogen or progesterone hormone receptors, specific proteins on the surface of the cancer cells.
While endocrine therapy is beneficial to treating breast cancer, it is also associated with various gynecological symptoms. Examples of gynecological symptoms are vaginal dryness, decreased libido (desire for sexual activity) and hot flashes (feelings of warmth in the upper parts of the body). These symptoms can compromise sexual health and quality of life. Thus, it is important to assess the impact of endocrine therapy on sexual function.
Methods & findings
66 women with hormone positive breast cancer were analyzed. Patients had to complete a questionnaire about their sexual problems, sexual distress and gynecological symptoms at the start of the study and 6 months after starting endocrine therapy.
With regards gynecological symptoms, symptoms increased after endocrine therapy.
With regards to sexual problems, sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, satisfaction and level of pain were studied. There were no significant differences between the start of the study and 6 months after starting treatment. 85% of women reported having at least 1 sexual problem at the start of study. 86% of women reported having at least 1 sexual problem 6 months after starting treatment.
With regards to sexual distress, there was no change from the start of the study to 6 months after starting treatment. 28.8% of women had sexual distress at the start of study while 30% of women had sexual distress 6 months after starting treatment.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that women are unlikely to experience a decline in sexual function due to endocrine therapy in the short term.
Published By :
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Aug 14, 2013
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