Breast cancer-related lymphedema and sexual experiences

A mixed-method comparison study

M. Elise Radina, Mei R. Fu, Lori Horstman, Yang Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective Up to 40% of breast cancer survivors develop lymphedema, a chronic and sometimes disabling condition that manifests as abnormal swelling of the effected arm or hand or upper chest areas. Although the effects of lymphedema on quality of life have been well established, less well documented are the sexual experiences of breast cancer survivors with lymphedema. This study is the first to compare the sexual experiences of women with (n = 243) and without breast cancer-related lymphedema (n = 109). Methods A mixed-method design was used to explore both quantitatively and qualitatively the impact of lymphedema on participants' sexual experiences. Results Participants with breast cancer-related lymphedema reported struggles with compression garments and sexual intimacy, negative feelings involving the breast and arm, and feelings of decreased sexual desire. Conclusions Recommendations for healthcare professionals, social workers, and marriage and family therapists are offered with the aim of assisting women with breast cancer-related lymphedema and their sexual partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1655-1662
Number of pages8
JournalPsycho-Oncology
Volume24
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Fingerprint

Lymphedema
Survivors
Emotions
Arm
Breast Neoplasms
Clothing
Sexual Partners
Marriage
Breast
Thorax
Hand
Quality of Life
Delivery of Health Care
Breast Cancer Lymphedema

Keywords

  • breast cancer
  • breast cancer-related lymphedema
  • chronic illness
  • mixed-method
  • sexual behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

Breast cancer-related lymphedema and sexual experiences : A mixed-method comparison study. / Radina, M. Elise; Fu, Mei R.; Horstman, Lori; Kang, Yang.

In: Psycho-Oncology, Vol. 24, No. 12, 01.12.2015, p. 1655-1662.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Radina, M. Elise ; Fu, Mei R. ; Horstman, Lori ; Kang, Yang. / Breast cancer-related lymphedema and sexual experiences : A mixed-method comparison study. In: Psycho-Oncology. 2015 ; Vol. 24, No. 12. pp. 1655-1662.
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