Sexual Dysfunction Related to the Treatment of Young Women With Breast Cancer
Women have a 13.4% chance of developing breast cancer over their lifetime, and an estimated 60,000 women aged 20-50 will develop breast cancer in 2005. Surgical, radiologic, and chemotherapeutic treatments used to treat breast cancer can alter women's body image and menopausal status, ultimately affecting sexual health. A diagnosis of breast cancer is more traumatic for young women because of psychosocial concerns, side effects of treatment, and a potentially shortened life expectancy. Alterations in sexual health interfere with intimate relationships. Nurses can play a pivotal role in improving the sexual health of young women with breast cancer. This article explores the potential side effects of treatment that can affect sexual health, the unique needs of young women, and nursing interventions that systematically address sexual health concerns.