University of São Paulo, Brazil
Title: Sexuality of Brazilian women in the context of breast cancer: A mixed methods analysis
Daniela Barsotti Santos is a psychologist and obtained PhD in Health Sciences, is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Social Medicine, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo.
Introduction: Sexuality can be aff ected aft er the impairment by an illness such as breast cancer which the treatment causes several body modifi cations impacting sexual function. Objective: To understand the psychosocial aspects of the sexuality aft er breast cancer by the comparison of sexual function evaluation with the types of treatments, sexual frequency, satisfaction with the loving relationship and gender roles. Method: Th is mixed methods study of convergent design included data of a survey with 139 women analyzed by clusters and the data of qualitative interviews conducted with 24 participants using semi-structured guideline. Th ese interviews were analyzed based on the theory of Sexual Scripts. Results: In the quantitative component, 67 women answered the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) among the total of 139 participants. By the FSFI score it was obtained 6 clusters in which half of them presented sexual dysfunction or suggestion of some sexual problems. Th ree sexual scripts were identifi ed: the script of sexuality based on traditional gender roles, the script of sexuality related to aging, and the script of sexuality based on wellbeing. Th e alteration of sexual function was not decisive for some women consider worsening of their sexual life aft er cancer. Th ere were some reports of improvement of sexual life and some women reported that sex life remained the same as before. Final considerations: It is important to health professionals deconstruct stereotypes related to sexuality issues in the breast cancer to assist women in the refl exivity process and development of positive ways to deal with the sexuality.