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The impact of bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy on sexuality and quality of life in women with breast cancer

Tucker PE1,2Cohen PA3,4,5Bulsara MK6Jeffares S1Saunders C1,7.

Support Care Cancer. 2020 May 5. doi: 10.1007/s00520-020-05503-z. [Epub ahead of print]




To compare sexual function and quality of life (QoL) in breast cancer survivors with and without a history of bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO).


A cross-sectional study of breast cancer survivors treated at a tertiary referral hospital in Western Australia. The Female Sexual Function Index was used to determine rates of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) and hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). Participants also completed the Relationship Assessment Scale, Menopause-specific quality of life questionnaire and Short Form Health Survey-36.


A total of 427 women were invited to participate: 119 had undergone BSO and 308 were controls with at least one ovary remaining. A total of 172 women participated (overall response rate 40.3%), consisting of 76 women in the BSO group (response rate 63.9%) and 96 women with at least one ovary remaining (response rate 31.2%). There was no difference in FSD between the two groups: 63/76 (82.9%) women who had undergone BSO had FSD compared to 75/96 (78.1%) controls (p = 0.458). No difference in HSDD was observed (p = 0.084) between the BSO group 70/76 (96.0%) and the controls 96/96 (100%). Women who had undergone BSO had lower general health scores compared to the control group (p = 0.034). Both groups had similar energy levels, emotional well-being, pain scores, physical functioning levels and social functioning levels.


In this study, women with prior treatment for breast cancer had high levels of FSD and HSDD, irrespective of whether they had undergone BSO. Both groups reported similar sexual function scores and QoL.