Click Here!

Breast cancer survey looks at sexual health

By |2007-03-01T09:00:00-05:00March 1st, 2007|Uncategorized|

By Sharon Gittleman

BOSTON, MA – When breast cancer strikes, many women face more than a battle to heal and to survive. They may find themselves struggling to rebuild their self-images and keep their relationships strong.
Will my partner die? Will she reject me? Will other aspects of our relationship suffer?
These are just a few of the questions that can afflict women and their partners engaged in the fight against breast cancer.
Boston University’s School of Public Health is studying one way the disease may cause havoc in women’s relationships.
Ulrike Boehmer, assistant professor at BU’s school of public health in the social behavioral sciences, is working on the Sexual Wellbeing Study, a look at the way breast cancer affects the intimate lives of lesbians and bisexual women.
“We want to look at their sexual functioning in the context of a lot of variables including quality of life, nutrition, health behaviors and relationships, said the study’s project coordinator Brandy Allen. “No one has looked at this before. Sexual minority woman have unique needs in terms of cancer survivorship.”
The study began in August 2006, and will conclude when Boehmer receives 130 survey responses from lesbians and bisexual women with breast cancer and 130 more from sexual minority women without the disease.
Questions on the anonymous survey range from how the women felt when they socialized with family and friends over the past month to how many vegetables and fruits they ate during that period, said Allen.
“It will ask about functioning – what kind of sexual activity did you have in the last four weeks?” she said. “We also look at who they are – astronauts in Florida or librarians in Iowa.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, this year there will be an estimated 178,480 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Experts say women with same-sex partners’ needs remain unexplored since most studies focus on the experiences of straight women with breast cancer.
The Sexual Wellbeing Study will be analyzed by a statistician and may be published in a peer review journal, said Allen.
“Hopefully, what will come out of it, is some ideas on how women can improve their quality of life after they have breast cancer,” she said.

To participate in the study, call 877-414-1399 contact organizers at [email protected] by email. For more information about the project, turn your browser to on the Internet.

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.
Click Here!