Sexuality and breast cancer: prime time for young patients

Ana Catarina Pinto


Sexuality and sexual functioning is a cardinal domain of health-related quality of life in breast cancer patients, namely in the younger population. Young women below 40 years of age go through a time in their lives where sexual self-identity has recently matured, their professional obligations are demanding and they bear interpersonal and childbearing expectations, all of which can suffer a devastating turnaround with cancer diagnosis and its physical and psychological aftermath. Although these women’s sexuality and directed interventions have remained largely unaddressed so far, concepts are evolving and treatment options are becoming diversified, chiefly on the field of non-hormonal pharmacological therapy of sexual dysfunction. This review will examine the definitions of female sexual dysfunction, the etiology of the disorders in young breast cancer patients, the assessment methods, the non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment options and the challenges that lie ahead.