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    Research Grants Awarded

    Determine Sexual Well-being in Sexual Minority Women

    Study Section:
    Population Specific

    Scientific Abstract:
    Breast cancer and its treatments often cause women to suffer from sexual problems. These problems are greatly distressing to breast cancer survivors and tend to persist even years after their completed their treatment. Sexual problems related to breast cancer are not well researched, which results in clinicians lacking guidance on how to address these problems with breast cancer survivors. Sexual minority women, defined as lesbians and women who have same-sex partners, are an important subgroup of breast cancer survivors whose needs are poorly understood. Sexual problems of sexual minority women with breast cancer have been completely neglected. The proposed study focuses on understanding this population’s sexual problems by comparing them to sexual minority women without breast cancer. The specific aims are: 1. To compare sexual dysfunction in sexual minority breast cancer survivors to sexual dysfunction in an age- and partner status-matched control group of sexual minority women without breast cancer. 2. To examine the relationship of explanatory factors to sexual dysfunction in sexual minority breast cancer survivors and sexual minority women without breast cancer 3. To examine the contribution of mutable factors on sexual dysfunction in sexual minority women with breast cancer, after other explanatory factors have been considered. We will use a case-control study design, recruiting 130 sexual minority women with and 130 sexual minority women without breast cancer. Using standardized measures, we will conduct a one-time survey of the two groups. Results of the proposed study will provide clinicians with information about critical areas that impact the sexual health of sexual minority women with breast cancer. The findings of this study will inform the development of interventions geared toward improving sexual health in sexual minority breast cancer survivors.

    Lay Abstract:
    Breast cancer and its treatments often cause women to suffer from sexual problems. These problems are greatly distressing to breast cancer survivors and tend to persist even years after they completed their treatment. Sexual problems related to breast cancer are not well researched, which results in clinicians lacking guidance on how to address these problems with breast cancer survivors. Sexual minority women, defined as lesbians and women who have same-sex partners, are an important subgroup of breast cancer survivors whose needs are poorly understood. Sexual problems of sexual minority women with breast cancer have been completely neglected. The proposed study focuses on understanding this population’s sexual problems by comparing them to sexual minority women without breast cancer. The specific aims are: 1. To compare sexual dysfunction in sexual minority breast cancer survivors to sexual dysfunction in an age- and partner status-matched control group of sexual minority women without breast cancer. 2. To examine the relationship of explanatory factors to sexual dysfunction in sexual minority breast cancer survivors and sexual minority women without breast cancer 3. To examine the contribution of mutable factors on sexual dysfunction in sexual minority women with breast cancer, after other explanatory factors have been considered. For this comparison study we will recruit 130 sexual minority women with and 130 sexual minority women without breast cancer. Using standardized measures, we will conduct a one-time survey of the two groups. Results of the proposed study will provide clinicians with information about critical areas that impact the sexual health of sexual minority women with breast cancer. The findings of this study will inform the development of interventions geared toward improving sexual health in sexual minority breast cancer survivors.