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Managing premature menopause and sexual dysfunction

Zhou, Eric S.; Falk, Sandy J.; Bober, Sharon L.

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: September 2015 - Volume 9 - Issue 3 - p 294–300
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000156
BREAST CANCER IN YOUNG WOMEN: CHALLENGES, PROGRESS, AND BARRIERS Edited by Ellen Warner and Shani Paluch-Shimon
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Purpose of review Young women (<45 years of age) diagnosed with breast cancer face increased risk of sexual dysfunction as a result of their cancer-directed treatment. We will review the recent literature examining this critical challenge and discuss current efforts to address sexual dysfunction.

Recent findings In the period since 2013, the literature has focused on sexual issues that result from the premature onset of menopausal symptoms and changes in sexual health following breast surgery. The impact of premature menopause in young women with breast cancer is profound and can affect all aspects of the sexual experience, from desire to function, and quality of life. Furthermore, the surgical treatment of breast cancer also has significant implications with respect to sexual desire and body image. There is a paucity of sexual health intervention for this population, though recent efforts suggest that sexual health outcomes may be improved if women are offered the appropriate intervention opportunities. However, the sexual function of young breast cancer patients is an under-discussed and under-treated health issue that warrants greater research and clinical focus.

Summary Further intervention trials must be completed in this population of young women for whom sexual function plays such a critical role in their personal and relationship well being.

aDana-Farber Cancer Institute

bHarvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Correspondence to Sharon L. Bober, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Shields-Warren 320 450 Brookline Avenue Boston, MA 02215-5450, USA. Tel: +1 617 632 6547; fax: +1 617 632 2473; e-mail: sharon_bober@dfci.harvard.edu

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