Cancer-related fatigue and sexual functioning in women with early breast cancer: Is there a link?

K. Webber, K. Mok, B.K. Bennett, I. Juraskova, D. Goldstein, M. Friedlander, A.R. Lloyd, FOLCAN study group

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9072 Background: We have previously reported on the natural history of cancer related fatigue (CRF) after adjuvant breast cancer therapy in a prospective cohort study (FOLCAN). The aim of this paper is to report on sexual functioning (SF), and its relationship to CRF, mood disorder and quality of life (QOL). METHODS: Women were recruited after surgery but prior to commencing adjuvant treatment. Self-report standardised questionnaires assessed SF, CRF, mood, menopausal symptoms, disability and QOL at baseline, completion of therapy, and at 6 and 12 months post-therapy. SF was assessed using the Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation System (CARES) sexual subscale which includes sexual interest, physical sexual function and overall satisfaction items. One way repeated measures ANOVA was used to assess temporal changes in CARES scores, whilst Spearman's correlations and multivariate regression models were employed to assess potential and actual predictors of SF. RESULTS: 92 of the 218 participants completed the SF measure (mean age 49.8 years). They were significantly younger, more likely to be married or in a de facto relationship and less likely to be post-menopausal at baseline than non-reporters. At baseline, 40% reported problems with sexual interest and 60% with physical sexual function. SF scores declined across all domains at end-treatment, then improved but remained below baseline at 12 months; with a significant temporal effect in the physical SF subscale (Wilks' λ 0.827, p=0.034) and a trend for overall satisfaction (λ 0.869, p=0.094). There were significant correlations between sexual dysfunction and QOL domains (physical and emotional health, social functioning and general health). None of fatigue, demographic or treatment variables were significant predictors of sexual dysfunction. The presence of mood disorder was the only significant independent predictor of poorer overall sexual satisfaction (p=0.005 at baseline, p
Original languageEnglish
Article number9072
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number15_suppl
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2011

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