Aim: To evaluate the sexual functioning of breast cancer patients post mastectomy and its association with their quality of life, the personal characteristics of women and their partners, breast reconstruction, cancer staging and adjuvant therapies.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in a University hospital located in the SouthEast of Brazil. A total of 100 women were included in the study. The parameters evaluated were sexual functioning, which was assessed based on the Sexual Quotient - Female Version (SQ-F), quality of life (QoL), evaluated by the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form (SF-36), cancer staging, breast reconstruction, adjuvant therapies and the personal characteristics of patients (age, years of study and years of marriage) and their partners (age, years of study).
Results: The majority (40.48%) of women had an unfavorable to regular SQ-F score. A significant positive correlation (p<0.05) was found between the SQ-F score and years of education (p=0.03), and the following SF-36 domains: functional capacity (p=0.03), vitality (p=0.06), emotional limitations (p=0.00) and mental health (p=0.03). A significant negative correlation was found between SQ-F score and the age of the partners (p=0.03). SQ-F mean value was significantly higher (p=0.04) among women who underwent breast reconstruction.
Conclusions: Women with low educational level, who have older partners, and who did not have a breast reconstruction should receive special attention with respect to their sexuality, and the effects of mastectomy on the sexuality of patients should be assessed. Oncology nurses are best qualified to recognize issues related to sexuality and quality of life, and can offer specific and meaningful support for breast cancer patients.
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