Sexuality and Intimacy Issues Facing Women With Breast Cancer

Carole Huber

Teresita Ramnarace

Ruth McCaffrey

ONF 2006, 33(6), 1163-1167. DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.1163-1167

Purpose/Objectives: To explore the sexuality and intimacy experiences facing women with breast cancer.

Data Sources: Published articles; OVID, PsycINFO, and Florida Atlantic University databases; Web sites; and books.

Data Synthesis: Patient perceptions and knowledge of mastectomy and chemotherapy-induced menopause in regard to lifelong sexual experiences are lacking. Healthcare providers must institute much-needed education and open lines of communication.

Conclusions: The physical and psychological results of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment alter human sexuality. Breast cancer's survival rate is at an all-time high, increasing the number of people who will be living with such issues on a daily basis and shifting the focus from acute care concerns to chronic disease concerns.

Implications for Nursing: Healthcare providers should assess individual patients for potential issues they may face. By identifying problems, they can challenge health care to focus on the long-term problems associated with sexuality and intimacy issues facing patients.

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