The Relationship between Body Image and Sexuality after Surgical Treatment in Women with Breast Cancer

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Yılmaz M. , Gürler H.

Koç Üniversitesi Hemşirelikte Eğitim ve Araştırma Dergisi, vol.17, no.3, pp.244-251, 2020 (National Refreed University Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.5222/head.2020.55751
  • Title of Journal : Koç Üniversitesi Hemşirelikte Eğitim ve Araştırma Dergisi
  • Page Numbers: pp.244-251


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