Qualitative exploration of sexual life among breast cancer survivors at reproductive age

Maryam Maleki, Abbas Mardani, Mansour Ghafourifard, Mojtaba Vaismoradi

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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Our understanding of the experiences of women at reproductive age regarding sexual life and issues they may face after starting the treatment of breast cancer is limited. Therefore, this qualitative study aimed to explore sexual life and its related issues among breast cancer survivors at reproductive age in Iran.


A qualitative research was conducted. Participants were 21 breast cancer survivors who were under 51 years of age that were chosen using purposeful sampling. In-depth semi-structured interviews were carried out for data collection and the content analysis method was used for data analysis.


The data analysis led to the development of main theme of ‘unfulfilled sexual life’. Also, four subthemes were: ‘undesirable sexual function’, ‘context-based beliefs’, ‘unmet information and supportive needs’, and ‘emotional crisis’.


Our research findings inform healthcare providers about the experiences of breast cancer survivors and related changes in their sexual and marriage life at reproductive age. Nurses and other healthcare providers in the multidisciplinary team should proactively identify health-related problems and design appropriate caring strategies to mitigate sexual and marriage issues among breast cancer survivors. Also, the establishment of sexual health counseling units for breast cancer survivors can help this vulnerable group of women with the improvement of their long-term sexual satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number56
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
Early online date09 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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