(HealthDay)—For breast cancer survivors (BCSs) with sexual dysfunction, an internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention can improve sexual functioning, according to a study published online Feb. 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Susanna B. Hummel, from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues randomized 169 BCSs to internet-based CBT, which consisted of weekly therapist-guided sessions for a maximum of 24 weeks, or waiting-list control. The intervention group completed self-report questionnaires at baseline, mid-therapy, and post-therapy; the control group completed questionnaires at equivalent times.
The researchers found that the intervention group showed a significant improvement over time in overall sexual functioning compared with the control group, with significant increases in sexual desire, sexual arousal, and vaginal lubrication. Over time, there was significantly more improvement in sexual pleasure, less discomfort during sex, and less sexual distress for the intervention group versus the control group. Greater improvement in body image and fewer menopausal symptoms were reported by the intervention group versus the control group. For orgasmic function, sexual satisfaction, intercourse frequency, relationship intimacy, marital functioning, psychological distress, or health-related quality of life there were no significant effects observed.
"Internet-based CBT has salutary effects on sexual functioning, body image, and menopausal symptoms in BCSs with a sexual dysfunction," the authors write.
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