Sexuality after breast cancer: cultural specificities of Tunisian population

  • Mnif Leila Psychiatry Department, Hedi Chaker Hospital, Sfax, Tunisia
  • Charfi Nada Psychiatry Department, Hedi Chaker Hospital, Sfax, Tunisia,
  • Chaabene Kais Gynecology Department, Hedi Chaker Hospital, Faculty of Medicine of Sfax, Tunisia
  • Masmoudi Jaweher Psychiatry Department, Hedi Chaker Hospital, Sfax, Tunisia,
Keywords: Breast cancer, sexual functioning, satisfaction, quality life, body image, culture, depression, anxiety


Introduction: Women’s sexuality may be particularly affected after breast cancer. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the changes in
sexual life after treatment of breast cancer in Tunisian women and to identify the influence of demographic and clinical factors on sexuality.
Methods: We recruited 50 patients who were in remission for at least 3 months after initial treatment of breast cancer. Sexuality and body image
were evaluated using the Arabic version of the specific scale of breast cancer QLQ-BR23. Screening for emotional disorders has been done with the
Arabic version of HAD scale (Hospital anxiety and depression scale). Results: Patients had poor sexual functioning and sexual satisfaction and the
mean scores were respectively 45.3% and 43.9%. Only menopausal status and sexual difficulties in the partner was significantly related to poorer
sexual satisfaction (p respectively 0.018 and 0.014). According to the HAD scale, 42% of patients had anxiety and 44% had depression. The sexual
satisfaction was statistically associated with the presence of anxiety symptoms (p=0.0003). Conclusion: Results suggest that the psychological
side and the sexual difficulties in partner are the most important factors that appear to be involved in sexual satisfaction of Tunisian women after
breast cancer. So, those factors need to be taken into account in therapeutic process and psychological counseling to maintain and enhance
patient’s psychological well-being.


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eISSN: 1937-8688