Breast cancer treatment lowers sex drive

March 13th, 2011 - 2:17 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 13 (IANS) Treatment of breast cancer in women can have many side effects like lowered sex drive and hair loss.

Myra Hunter, clinical psychologist at the Maudsley National Health Service Foundation Trust in Britain, sees many women struggling with physical, emotional and sexual changes brought on or exacerbated by breast cancer.

“Therapy like chemotherapy and tamoxifen can produce menopausal symptoms and women who have oestrogen-dependent cancers are advised not to have hormone treatment for these symptoms,” Hunter explains.

“Vaginal dryness is commonly brought on by reduced oestrogen levels following adjuvant treatments (added to a treatment to help improve its effectiveness), and hot flushes and night sweats can add to the discomfort.”

Breast cancer is more common among older women. This means many women with the cancer can have symptoms of menopause exacerbated by cancer and its treatments.

Breast cancer treatments can also trigger early-onset menopause in younger women, according to a Maudsley Trust statement.

“Sexual desire is closely linked to stress and women experiencing breast cancer can be under considerable stress, juggling their health concerns with ordinary life stresses. When stressed, sexual interest is affected in men and women,” says Hunter.

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