Aim: Surgical treatment of breast cancer has a profound and chronic
negative impact on a woman's body image and sexuality. The present
study aimed to determine the relationship between body image and
sexuality after surgical treatment in women with breast cancer (BC).
Methods: A cross-sectional and descriptive design was used, and the
study included a total of 177 women with BC who had the surgical BC
treatment. Data were collected using a questionnaire and the Sexual
Adjustment and Body Image Scale (SABIS) in the women’s homes.
Results: The average age of the women was 48.11 years (from 28 to 64
years). The women’s prior body image score was 10.82 and post body
image score was 7.39, prior sexual adjustment score was 6.81, sexual
functioning score was -3.79, and sexual importance of breasts score
was 6.98. The post body image score was positively correlated with
three of the SABIS subscales: prior sexual adjustment (r= .201), prior
body image (r= .221), and impact on sexual functioning (r= .263) and
negatively correlated with the sexual importance of breasts (r= -.265). The
sexual functioning subscale was positively correlated with the post body
image (r= .263) and sexual importance of breasts (r= .245). According to
the lumpectomy, radical mastectomy was found to be worse in the SABIS
body image and sexual adjustment dimension scores. The difference
between the education level of the women, the type of surgery, and the
stage of cancer and the body image score were significant. In addition, it
was determined that there was a statistically significant difference between
the subscales of sexual adjustment with age and the sexual significance of
the breasts with age, type of surgery, the time after surgical treatment,
and the sexual function score of women who have problems with their
husband after BC (p<.05).
Conclusion: Surgical treatment of BC has a negative effect on the
body image and sexuality of the woman due to the fact that it changes
or removes the physical and psychological symbol of femininity. The
findings of this study confirm that a mastectomy has a negative impact on
sexuality and body image of women.
Keywords: Breast cancer; body image; sexuality