Sexual Dysfunction among Filipino Breast Cancer Patients

Arthur Gregory A. Lui,1 Joanne Marie L. Balbuena,1
Antonio L. Faltado Jr.,2 Charles Vincent O. Uy2 and Heinrik Martin Jude S. Strebel1

1Section of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
2Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila

Introduction. Sexual function is an important aspect of quality of life, and can be drastically affected in ill patients. Very few studies (and apprently none among Filipinas) looked into sexual dysfunction among females with breast cancer (BrCa); prevalence also is not well defined. This study evaluates the prevalence of sexual dysfunction among Filipino patients with BrCa, and assesses which treatment or if duration of illness, age, BMI, smoking history, diabetes, hypertension significantly contributed to the dysfunction.

Methods. A cross sectional study was conducted among BrCa patients consulting at the outpatient medical oncology clinic of a government tertiary hospital. Study population included those diagnosed and was breast cancer over a 3-months period, with a calculated sample size of 60 (within 81 +/- 10% prevalence rate, CI 95%). A validated translated version of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) 19-item questionnaire that looked into 6 domains (arousal, lubrication, desire, pain, orgasm, and satisfaction) was used. Sexual dysfunction was defined as an FSFI score of <26.55.

Results. Of the 97 respondents, mean age was 49.4 years old and mean BMI of 24.8. About 78% received chemotherapy, 26% hormonal therapy. 15% radiotherapy, 82% modified radical mastectomy (MRM), and 71% received both MRM and chemotherapy at the time of the interview. Duration of cancer was >= 6months in 72% of subjects. There were 97.9% who had sexual dysfunction which is similar to prevalence rates (64-98%) in other studies. Age, BMI, smoking history, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chemotherapy, surgery, hormonal therapy, radiation therapy, and duration of illness were shown not be significant predictors of sexual dysfunction among Filipinas with BrCa by bivariate analysis.

Conclusion. Sexual dysfunction is highly prevalent among female Filipino BrCa patients. Knowing such high prevalence should prompt health care providers to include interventions to improve quality of life of BrCa patients, including their sexual life.

Key Words: sexual dysfunction, breast cancer, Filipino