In Egypt, due to cultural reasons, breast cancer patients may suffer in silence struggling with their sexual problems. This is the first study to explore the sexual functioning of Egyptian breast cancer patients receiving anti-cancer treatment.
The study included 105 married premenopausal patients aged ≤55 years, who underwent surgery and were receiving adjuvant treatment. We used the Arabic validated versions of the EORTC quality of life questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30, v 3.0) and the breast cancer module (EORTC QLQ-BR23) to assess quality of life and the female sexual function index (FSFI) to assess sexual functioning.
The median age of patients was 43 years, 11% of them were employed, 81% were literate and 98% were circumcised. The average FSFI score was 16 (±9). The FSFI differed significantly according to systemic treatment (p = 0.007). Patients receiving chemotherapy had the lowest score (12 ± 8.5) and those receiving tamoxifen had the highest (18 ± 8.5). The FSFI score did not differ according to the type of surgery (p = 0.892). However, the body image scale of EORTC QLQ-BR23 was significantly better among patients who underwent breast conservative surgery compared to modified radical mastectomy (p = 0.004). There was a significant positive correlation between the FSFI score and the scores of global health status (p
The current results suggest that Egyptian breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy experience significant sexual dysfunction. The type of surgery has no direct effect on sexual functioning, but may affect it indirectly through its impact on body image satisfaction. Overall, sexual dysfunction is strongly related to the quality of life in this group of patients.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.