Document Type : Middle East Special Report


1 Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Center, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Campus Ersta, Stockholm, Sweden

5 Department of Community Health Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

6 Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: Cancer diagnosis and treatments cause sexual dysfunction in patients. Sexual function is one of the most important aspects of quality of life. However, in previous studies, qualitative methods have been less accentuated to explore in to the sexual experiences and feelings of cancer patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate the experiences of Iranian women affected with cancer about their sexual quality of life.
Method: A qualitative descriptive study with a conventional content analysis approach was performed on a targeted sample of 28 Iranian women with cancer from October 2018 to February 2020. Data were collected through face to face and in depth semi structured interviews until data saturation was attained.
Results: Data analysis revealed four themes and 11 categories. The emerged themes were entitled: “Changing sexual capacity”, “physical consequences”, “sexual self-sacrifice” and “Changing woman’s identity”.
Conclusion: Women with cancer experience many sexual problems such as reduced orgasm, lack of pleasure, and pain during sex. Due to the taboo of sexual issues, especially for women, many of them are embarrassed to ask their questions to the medical staff and for this reason, their problems will remain unresolved. The support of their spouses and the social can play an important role in facilitating coping. Health care providers have an important role in assessing and improving patients’ quality of life. It is recommended to adopt strategies for appropriate interventions, education and counseling to improve sexual quality of life in cancer patients.


How to cite this article:

Hosseini SE, Ilkhani M, Rohani C, Nikbakht Nasrabadi A. Sexual experience of Iranian women with cancer: a qualitative content analysis. Middle East J Cancer. 2022;13(4):708-16. doi: 10.30476/mejc.2021.90027.1561.

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