Sexual Experiences of Women with Breast Cancer

여성 유방암환자의 성생활 경험

  • Lee, Gyeong-Nam (Department of Nursing, Hallym College) ;
  • Lee, Dong-Suk (Department of Nursing, Kangwon National University.Health Care Research Center)
  • Received : 2011.09.20
  • Accepted : 2011.10.31
  • Published : 2011.11.30


Purpose: The aims of this study were to describe and interpret the nature of the experience inherent in the sex life of female breast cancer patients after treatment and understand the meaning behind it. Methods: The participants were 10 female breast cancer patients who were married. Data were collected from March to September 2010. Van Manen's hermeneutic phenomenology was adopted in this qualitative study as a research method. Results: There were 4 essential topics in the participants' experience of sex life; 'Sex life alert' was a result of negative changes in sexual relationships with spouse that they had never experienced before the breast cancer diagnosis; 'Precarious situation for pending divorce' was an experience of deteriorated sex life because of the failure to overcome 'sex life alert'; 'Sublimation of the difficulties by discovering an alternative solution' was an experience of discovering a solution to overcome the 'sex life alert'. 'Leaving it as unsettled' was an experience of a condition in which the participants did not have any intension to resolve the difficulties in sex life due to the lack of appropriate support, thus tried to ignore the challenges faced. Conclusion: This study illustrates the necessity to develop proper nursing intervention on the issues related to sex life among breast cancer patients. Given the fact that the sexual topics are often considered taboo in day to day nursing practice, special attention and efforts need to be given in this area to build up nursing knowledge and evidence-based practice.