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Psychological and sexual disorders in long-term breast cancer survivors

Authors Pumo Vitalinda, Milone G, Margherita Iacono, Rametta Giuliano S, Di Mari A, Lopiano C, Bordonaro S, Tralongo P

Received 24 November 2011

Accepted for publication 28 December 2011

Published 24 February 2012 Volume 2012:4 Pages 61—65


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Vitalinda Pumo, Gabriella Milone, Margherita Iacono, Sebastiano Rametta Giuliano, Annamaria Di Mari, Calogera Lopiano, Sebastiano Bordonaro, Paolo Tralongo
Medical Oncology Unit, Rete Assistenza Oncologica, Siracusa, Italy

Background: The progressive increase in the number of patients surviving long term after a diagnosis of malignant disease has led to a focus on the early and late complications of the disease and its treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of complications which may worsen quality of life and shorten long-term survival.
Methods: We identified 306 cancer patients who had been disease-free without treatment for at least three years. Of these, 167 with breast cancer were enrolled in this study. A detailed questionnaire-based interview was undertaken to investigate the characteristics of the patients (age, gender, marital status, education), the tumor (date of diagnosis, histology), and treatment. We also used the Beck Depression Inventory to screen for depression, Spitzer’s Quality of Life Index to assess quality of life, and the International Index of Erectile Function and the Female Sexual Function Index to get precise information on sexual function.
Results: Psychological effects were reported by 121 (72.4%) subjects. Sexual disorders were identified in 60 (35.9%) subjects. A correlation between frequency of psychological disorders and severity of sexual disorders was reported. The proportion of psychological disorders was higher in younger patients, those who were married, and those with low education.
Conclusion: In survivors of breast cancer, the incidences of psychological and sexual affective disorders are significant and frequently correlated, resulting in diminished quality of life.

Keywords: psychological, sexual, disorders, survivors, breast cancer

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