Sexual Dysfunction and Its Correlation with Quality of Life among Women Affected with Cancer

Document Type : Original Article


1 Instructor Nursing, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran.

2 Instructor Nursing, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran


Introduction: Cancer diagnosis and its treatment can lead to sexual dysfunction in patients. Since sexual function is an important aspect of quality of life and our goal in this study was to identify correlation between sexual dysfunction and quality of life among woman affected with cancer.
Methods: In this descriptive –correlative study woman patients with cancers of uterus, cervix, ovary and breast in Tonekabon and Ramsar were enrolled.
This research used convenience sampling and one hundred women with cancer participated. Rosen index (FSFI) was used to assess the sexual dysfunction and Aronson index was used to collect data of quality of life.
Results: The findings indicated that 60% of participants had moderate sexual dysfunction and libido and sexual arousal were most commonly affected. Appropriate quality of life was seen in 53.4% of studied participants in this study. Chi-square test showed a significant correlation between sexual dysfunction and quality of life in the women patients affected with Cancer (P<0.000).
Conclusion: Sexual function is an important aspect of quality of life. Understanding of alterations and sexual dysfunction is a necessary and important aspect of diagnosis and treatment of women patients affected by cancer. Healthcare providers have an important role in evaluation and promotion of patient’s quality of life. Use of appropriate interventions, teaching, and counseling are strategies that are suggested in promotion of sexual health in women patients affected with cancer.


1. Jahanfar SH. Molayinejad M.Text book of sexual dysfunction.Tehran:Salemi;2001. [Persian]
2. Hyunlee E. Fatigue and hope relationships to psychosocial adjustment in Korean
women with breast cancer. Appl Nurs Res 2001;14(2):87-93.
3. Mahmudi GH, Sharifi A, Behnampur N. Correlation between quality of life and coping
strategies in patients undergoing hemodialysis. J Gorgan Uni Med Sci 2002;5(12):43-
52. [Persian]
4. Braim RG. Current problem in cancer: assessment the quality of life in patient with
cancer. Cancer Nur 2000;24(2):58-86.
5. Derogatis R, Kourlessis SM. An approach to evaluation of sexual problems in the
cancer patients. Cancer J Clin 1981;31(1):46-50.
6. Schover LR. Sexuality and fertility after cancer. New York:John Wiley & Sons;1997.
7. Ganz PA, Greendale GA, Petersen L, Kahn B, Bower JE. Breast cancer in younger
women: reproductive and late health effects of treatment. J Clin Oncol 2003 Nov
8. Ganz PA, Rowland JH, Desmond. K, Meyerowitz BE, Wyatt GE. Life after breast
cancer: understanding woman's health-related quality of life and sexual functioning. J
Clin Oncol 1998 Feb;16(2):501-14.
9. Schover LR. Sexuality in cancer. J Clin Oncol 1997;8(5):1234-45.
10. Barni. SM, Mondin R. Sexual dysfunction in treated breast cancer patient. Ann Oncol
11. Onon Setoz O, Eelbi Mete I, Noyan A, Alper M, Kapkac M. [Effects of surgery type on
body image, sexuality, self-esteem, and marital adjustment in breast cancer: a controlled
study].Turk Psychiatri Derg 2004 Winter;15(4):264-75. [Article in Turkish]
12. Kissane DW, Clarke DM, Ikin J, Bloch S, Smith GC, Vitetta L, et al. Psychological
morbidity and quality of life in Australian women with early-stage breast cancer: a
cross-sectional survey. Med j Aust 1998 Aug 17;169(4):192-6. 
13. Anllo LM. Sexual life after breast cancer. J Sex Marital Ther 2000 Jul-Sep;26(3):241-8.
14. Bakewell RT, Volker DL. Sexual dysfunction related to the treatment of young women
with breast cancer. Clin J Oncol Nurs 2006 Dec;9( 6):697-702.
15. Rosen R, Brown C, Herman J, Leiblum S, Meston C, Shabsigh R, et al. The Female
Sexual Function Index (FSFI): a multidimensional self-report instrument for the
assessment of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther 2000 Apr-Jun;26(2):191-208.
16. Aronson NK, Ahmed ZS, Bergman B. The European Organization for Research and
Treatment of Cancer Qol-C30: a quality of life in student for use in international clinical
trial. J Nat Cancer Instit 1993;85(5):365-75.
17. Mohamadi KH, Heidari M, Faghihzadeh S. Validity of Persian Female Sexual Function
Index(FSFI). Payesh: J Iranian Instit Health Sci Res 2008;2(7):269-78.
18. Yaghubinia F, Mazlum R, Salehi J. Study of the relationship between self-esteem and
Burnout in Nurses of Hospitals of Mashad University of Medical Sciences in 1379
(2000). Asrar: J Sabzevar Uni Med Sci 2002;10(3).73-9.
19. Barni S, Mondin R. Sexual dysfunction in treated breast cancer patients. Ann Oncol
1997 Feb;8(2):149-53.
20. Hendren SK, O'Connor BI, Liu M, Asano T, Cohen Z, Swallow CJ, et al. Prevalence of
male and female sexual dysfunction is high following surgery for rectal cancer. Ann
Surge 2005 Aug;242(2):212-23.
21. Scherer LR. The impact of breast cancer of sexual, body intimate relationship. J Clin
Cancer 1991;l 41:112-20.
22. Ozyilkan O, Baltali E, Tekuzman G, Firat D. The impact of diagnosis and treatment on
the quality of life in breast caner patients. Neoplasm 1998;45(1):50-2.
23. Likes WM, Stegbauer C, Tillmanns T, Pruett J. Pilot study of sexual function and
quality of life after excision for vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia. J Reprod Med 2007
24. Ganz PA. Quality of life and patient with cancer, Individual and policy implications.
Cancer 1994 Aug 15;74(4 Suppl):1445-52.
25. Park SY, Bae DS, Nam JH, Park CT, Cho CH, Lee JM, et al. Quality of life and sexual
problems in disease-free survivors of cervical cancer compared with the general
population. Cancer 2007 Dec 15;110(12):2716-25.
26. Sammarco A. Perceived social support, uncertainty, and quality of life in younger breast
cancer survivors. Cancer Nurs 2001 Jun;24(3):212-9.
27. Schover LR. Sexuality and body image in younger women with breast cancer. J Natl
Cancer Inst Monogr 1994;16:177-82.
28. Shannon C, Smith IE. Breast cancer in adolescents and young women. Eur J Cancer
2003 Dec;39(18):2632-42.
29. Schultz AA, Winstead-Fry P. Predictors of quality of life in rural patients with cancer.
Cancer Nurs 2001 Feb;24(1):12-9.
30. Chie WC, Huang CS, Chen JH, Chang KJ. Measurement of quality of life during
different clinical phases of breast cancer. J Formos Med Assoc 1999 Apr;98(4):256-60.
31. Wapnir IL, Cody RP, Greco RS. Subtle different in quality of life after breast cancer
surgery. Ann Surg Oncol 1999 Jun;6(4):359-66.
32. Mortimer JE, Boucher L, Baty J, Knapp DL, Ryan E, Rowland JH. Effects of tamoxifen
on sexual functioning in patients with breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 1999
33. Gulliford SM. Opioid-induced sexual dysfunction. J Pharmace Care Pain Sym Managt
Cont 1998l;6(2):67-74.
34. Crenshaw TL, Goldberg JP. Sexual pharmacology: drugs that affect sexual functioning.
New York:,Norton;1996.
35. Ferrari PA. Psychosexual sequence of gynecological condition. J Sex Marit Ther
36. Anderson BL. There is sexual, what can we do about them?. Gynecol
Oncol 1994;52:10-3.