Breast cancer patients’ silent suffering

WOMEN with breast cancer find their sexual wellbeing and relationships suffer as a result of diagnosis and treatment but most don’t speak to anyone about it, an Australian survey shows.

While these physical and emotional issues are often considered the most difficult aspect of the disease, many women are reluctant to discuss their concerns with health professionals. If they do, they are most likely to consult their GP.

Only 15% of the 2200 women surveyed reported that breast cancer had affected their sexual relationship ‘not at all’, with many reporting loss of libido, tiredness and lack of emotional energy.

Women were also keen to get advice on dealing with vaginal dryness, hot flushes and other physical symptoms. 

Women reported they tended to wait for health professionals to raise these topics rather than broach the issues themselves.

The survey was conducted by Professor Jane Ussher and a team from the