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Index de Enfermería

On-line version ISSN 1699-5988Print version ISSN 1132-1296


BLANCO SANCHEZ, Rafaela. Feminine body image and sexuality in women with breast cancer. Index Enferm [online]. 2010, vol.19, n.1, pp.24-28. ISSN 1699-5988.

The aim was to analyse the experiences of women who had undergone a mastectomy with respect to their sexuality, the factors that contribute to any changes in their sexual behaviour, and the repercussions that could lead to family destructuralisation. The methodology used was based on Qualitative Phenomenological Investigation. Thirty extensive interviews were carried out at the rehabilitation, oncology and radiotherapy centres of the Vall d'Hebron Hospital, and at the gynaecological centre at the Primary Health Care Centre of La Mina (Barcelona). Participants' ages ranged from 20 to 69 years. Analysis of the collective comments from the participants revealed that the most relevant themes were: women with problems with their partners; living with the image of a mutilated body; lack of or diminished interest in sexual relations; loss of a partner; refusal on the part of some men to touch the mastectomy scar; avoidance of total nudity; women for whom their partner had become overly important in their lives; recuperation of sexuality; concern for their survival; women who had not had breast reconstruction and did not wish to do so. Conclusions: In some women breast cancer may cause a breakdown of their relationship with their partners and could be experienced as a problem. On the other hand, in the majority of those women who have been seen to be accompanied at all times by their partners, it is not perceived as such. Nevertheless, not all the women interviewed claimed to either have a partner or want to maintain relationships.

Keywords : Breast cancer; Mastectomy; Image; Sexuality; Attitudes; Family destructuralisation.

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