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The American Society of Breast Surgeons.
Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Sexual Dysfunction in Survivorship; the Impact of Menopause and Endocrine Therapy

Reed Kuehn MD, Jesse Casaubon DO, Christina Raker ScD, David Edmonson MD, Ashley Stuckey MD, Jennifer Gass MD
Breast Oncology
Volume 26, Issue 10 / October , 2019



Sexual dysfunction is common for breast cancer survivors. Premenopausal women with breast cancer are increasingly offered ovarian suppression and aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy. We evaluated the association of menopausal status and treatment modalities on sexual dysfunction.


We conducted a cross-sectional anonymous Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) survey of breast cancer survivors between 2000 and 2016. Analysis utilized Kruskal–Wallis test for FSFI scores, Chi square, or Fisher’s exact test for categorical data, and regression analysis for associations.


Of 585 respondents, 278 (47.5%) had complete FSFI scores. Of these, 24 (8.6%) were premenopausal and 80 (28.8%) were pre/perimenopausal at survey completion. Median FSFI scores for premenopausal (31.2, interquartile range [IQR] 26.8–33.6) and pre/perimenopausal (29.2, IQR 25.9–32.2) were similar, whereas postmenopausal women (25.9, IQR 21.0–30.3) were significantly lower (p = 0.0007 and p = 0.0002, respectively). Premenopausal women were less likely to meet criteria for sexual dysfunction (FSFI score ≤ 26.55) than postmenopausal women (21 versus 55%, p < 0.0001, univariate analysis [odds ratio (OR) 0.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18–0.56]). Adjusting for treatment modality did not impact the significance (OR 0.43, 95% [CI] 0.23–0.80) but revealed that AIs independently are associated with sexual dysfunction (OR 2.41, 95% CI 1.32–4.40). The interaction between menopausal status and AIs was not significant (p = 0.24).


Our study demonstrates that menopausal status is associated with sexual dysfunction in breast cancer patients and sexual dysfunction in premenopausal women is not impacted by treatment modality outside of aromatase inhibitor therapy. As more premenopausal patients are treated with ovarian suppression, these data may guide clinicians in counseling patients regarding sexual dysfunction expectations.

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