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No Studies on Low Libido

Posted 9/25/2015

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  There are some reasons why there have not been studies on the common problem of low (or absent) libido in breast cancer (and other cancer) patients. The article that follows from talks about the scientific reasons and sounds reasonable. However, I suspect there is more to this story.

  There is the reason that little has been known about medium and long term side effects/survivors' issues: few cancer patients lived long enough for it to matter. Blessedly, that has changed, but we are starting from close to an absent knowledge base for many concerns. There is also the likely reason that not too many women talk about their sexual concerns with their doctors. One or both of them may be uncomfortable with the topic.?There is so much pressure on doctors to move patients in and out of their exam room quickly that the limited time available must be spent on the most important worries. There is also my suspicion that, in general, women's sexual problems have not gotten the kind of time and attention that have been given to men's.

  Here is the start of the article and a link to read more:

 Reader Q&A: No Libido Treatment Studies on Breast Cancer Patients?

For this month’s column we wanted to address some important questions from readers. With the approval of flibanserin (brand name: Addyi), many questions have arisen concerning sexuality research, sexual desire, and cancer treatment. In addition, some women are asking about sexual desire after breast cancer treatment and possible time to resolution of symptoms.

Why have there not been studies done on breast cancer patients to treat lowered sexual interest?

Traditionally, most clinical trials that involve medications for sexuality have excluded the breast cancer population for a variety of different reasons. Firstly, testosterone, which has been widely studied in the female population, has excluded breast cancer patients due to the concern that testosterone is a hormone and is converted to estrogen. Many breast cancer tumors actually do have androgen or testosterone receptors, too. Systemic hormones are not recommended in the breast cancer population. There is an underlying concern of reactivation of a dormant cancer or stimulation of cancer cells with hormones (either estrogen or testosterone). Many experts are concerned about hormones in light of a breast cancer diagnosis given that many tumors have estrogen receptors.


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