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Sexual Problems of Patients With Breast Cancer After Treatment

A Systematic Review

Chang, Yun-Chen, MS, RN; Chang, Shiow-Ru, PhD, RN; Chiu, Shih-Che, MD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000592
Article: PDF Only

Background Sexual health is a crucial part of quality of life in breast cancer survivors, regardless of their relationship status. However, previous studies have rarely used qualitative methods to explore the postoperative experiences and feelings of patients with breast cancer.

Objective The aim of this study was to examine the causes of changes in sexual relationships of breast cancer survivors, methods for adaptation to these changes, and healthcare interventions to facilitate the patients’ return to a normal life.

Interventions/Study Methods A survey was performed by using five electronic databases and electronic journals accessed through the Internet. The following keywords were used: “breast cancer,” “sexual problem,” “sexual dysfunction,” and “qualitative.”

Results Seven articles were included in the literature review. Three main domains were explored, namely, reasons for sexual relationship changes; the way patients used to adapt to sexual life after the diagnosis of breast cancer; and intervention by healthcare workers.

Conclusions The results of this study can facilitate and encourage health professionals to identify, examine, and solve most of the patient’s sexual problems by using the functional and medical framework of the healthcare system.

Implications for Practice One practical recommendation of this study is the incorporation of sexual counseling units into the national healthcare system. Counselors in these units can help breast cancer survivors solve problems and improve sexual satisfaction between couples.

Author Affiliations: School of Nursing, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei (Ms Chang and Dr Chang); Cancer Center, Hsinchu Mackay Memorial Hospital, Hsinchu (Ms Chang and Dr Chiu), Taiwan.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

No type of product, service, and/or corporate, professional, or other personal interest should be interpreted as affecting the subject or comments in the article.

This version of the paper has been revised since the original version was made available through ePub ahead-of-print. Revisions include the removal of Figure 2, rewording of certain sections, and revised findings related to age.

Correspondence: Yun-Chen Chang, MS, RN, 2 Floor Cancer Resource Center, No. 690, Sec. 2, Guangfu Rd., East Dist., Hsinchu City 30071, Taiwan, Republic of China (

Accepted for publication January 2, 2018.

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