1371P - Concerns about sexuality of young women with breast cancer and their partners

Date 28 September 2014
Event ESMO 2014
Session Poster Display session
Topics Supportive Measures
Breast Cancer
Cancers in Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA)
Presenter Laurence Vanlemmens
Citation Annals of Oncology (2014) 25 (suppl_4): iv481-iv485. 10.1093/annonc/mdu352
Authors L. Vanlemmens1, C. Duprez2, A. Lesur3, F. Ait Kaci4, A. Congard5, P. Antoine2, C. Loustalot6, C. Guillemet7, M. Leclercq8, C. Levy9, V. Christophe2
  • 1Sénologie, Centre Oscar Lambret, 59020 - Lille/FR
  • 2Ureca Ea 1059, Université de Lille 3, 59650 - Villeneuve-d'Ascq/FR
  • 3Senologie, Institut de Cancérologie de Lorraine, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy/FR
  • 4Psychologie, Centre Oscar Lambret, 59020 - Lille/FR
  • 5Centre De Recherche PsyclÉ, Université de Provence, Aix-Marseille, Aix en Provence/FR
  • 6Senologie, Centre Georges François Leclerc, Dijon/FR
  • 7Medical Oncology, Centre H Becquerel, Rouen/FR
  • 839 Boulevard Clemenceau, Dr LECLERCQ MONELLE, Marcq-en-Barœul/FR
  • 9Sénologie, Centre François BACLESSE, Caen/FR



A qualitative study of 69 couples showed that concerns about sexuality was mentioned by 41% of the participants, more often at the beginning of the treatment and during chemotherapy (CT) (58%) and trastuzumab (T) (45%) than during hormone therapy (HT) (33%) and follow up (21%) (p < 0.01). However, the common perceptions of couples are poorly studied. This communication aims to 1) evaluate the difficulties of sexuality of couples facing breast cancer (BC), and 2) assess the degree of agreement or disagreement with these difficulties at every stage of treatment program.


431 couples, in which the patient was suffering from non-metastatic BC, completed a self-administered questionnaire with 8 dimensions assessing their subjective experience at different stages of treatment (27.4% under CT, 10.2% under T, 35% under HT, 27.4% under follow up). For each item on sexuality : (a) I have sexual difficulties because of the disease; (b) I feel less sexual desire; (c) I have trouble accepting that my partner physically touch me / I dare not physically touch my partner; (d) I feel like abandoning my partner / I do not recognize my partner physically). The participants had to indicate the degree in which the assertion corresponded to their actual state, using a scale from 1 (« strongly disagree ») to 5 (« strongly agree »).


1) Regardless of the stage of treatment, patients reported more difficulties than partners. We also note that for the item (a) the patients under T and their partners tended to report more difficulties than the patients under HT and their partners. 2) 38% of couples disagreed about their sexual difficulties, 30% moderately agreed and 32% agreed. The "profiles" of the couples proved not to be statistically different depending on the period; the greater degree of disagreement seemed to be during the HT (67/151 couples, with patients reporting more difficulties than partners).


The sexual difficulties of couples appear to be present all along the treatment program and even during the follow-up period, for patients as well as for their partners. The perception of each member of the dyad should thus be taken into account in the course of care to better understand the problem of couples related to this specific problem.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.