Genitourinary Symptoms in Breast Cancer Survivors: Prevalence, Correlates, and Relationship With Sexual Functioning

Ying Sheng

Janet S. Carpenter

Andrea A. Cohee

Susan Storey

Timothy E. Stump

Patrick O. Monahan

David Cella

Victoria L. Champion
breast cancer survivors, genitourinary symptoms, sexual functioning, vaginal atrophy
ONF 2021, 48(2), 229-241. DOI: 10.1188/21.ONF.229-241

Objectives: To evaluate (a) the prevalence of genitourinary symptoms, (b) which demographic and clinical factors predict genitourinary symptoms, and (c) the association between genitourinary symptoms and sexual functioning in breast cancer survivors.

Sample & Setting: A secondary analysis of cross-sectional, patient-reported outcomes data from 1,085 breast cancer survivors was conducted.

Methods & Variables: Prevalence and correlations with demographics, clinical factors, and sexual functioning were identified using descriptive analysis, multivariable logistic regression analysis, chi-square tests, t tests, and Pearson correlation coefficients.

Results: Symptoms included vaginal/vulvar irritation, pelvic discomfort, problems with urinary control, vaginal infection, and vaginal bleeding. Younger age, more comorbidities, and taking treatment for menopausal symptoms were significantly related to reporting genitourinary symptoms. Experiencing more symptoms was associated with lower sexual functioning.

Implications for Nursing: The prevalence, correlates, and relationship of genitourinary symptoms with sexual functioning supports the assessment and treatment of these symptoms as part of routine care for breast cancer survivors.

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