Breast cancer treatment brings sexual difficulties for postmenopausal women

Women treated for breast cancer after menopause with aromatase inhibitors have very high levels of sexual difficulties, including low interest, insufficient lubrication, and pain with intercourse. It is an important and underestimated problem, say the authors of a study published online in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The researchers from Örebro University and Uppsala University in Sweden are the first to look at the impact of this type of on specific aspects of sexuality in postmenopausal women. Nearly three quarters of these women had insufficient lubrication, more than half (56%) had pain with intercourse, half said their sexual interest was low, and 42% were dissatisfied with their sex life, the study revealed. These percentages were far higher than for postmenopausal women who were not being treated for . And although women taking tamoxifen for breast cancer also had low sexual interest and more pain with intercourse, they had significantly fewer difficulties than women taking aromatase inhibitors.

, which block formation of estrogen from other hormones in the body, may offer advantages in terms of preventing and possibly in increasing survival, so they may be used more in the future. Unfortunately, effective treatment options for their sexual side effects are lacking, because too much estrogen may be absorbed from vaginal estrogen treatments, the authors pointed out. They called for more intensive study of the causes and impact of these side effects so we can improve ' quality of life in the future.

The study will be published in the February 2013 print edition of Menopause.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Weight gain increases breast cancer risk

Jul 13, 2006

Women who gain weight as young adults have a greater risk of developing breast cancer after menopause than women who maintain or lose weight, a study says.

Recommended for you

Cancer patients need anxiety, depression screening

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—It is important to recognize and treat anxiety or depression among cancer patients, according to a clinical guideline published online April 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Pre-HPV vaccine, most oropharyngeal cancers HPV+

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Most oropharyngeal cancers in the United States diagnosed between 1995 and 2005 were positive for human papillomavirus (HPV), specifically HPV 16 or 18, according to a study published in the May issue of the ...

'Dustman' protein helps bin cancer cells

Apr 21, 2014

Cancer researchers have discovered a new 'dustman' role for a molecule that helps a drug kill cancer cells according to a study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) ...

User comments