• Linnea Marie Krenzen Fechner
  • Stephanie Bjerre Stræde
  • Luise Sinding Nygaard
4. term, Master of Sexology (Continuing education) (Continuing Education Programme (Master))
Background: Being a carrier of hereditary breast cancer (BRCA) gene mutation increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and is a major psychological burden. To undergo prophylactic surgery is often a complex choice, and the consequences can be difficult for the individual woman to understand. Sexuality is seen as an important aspect of human life and can form the basis of well-being. Late modernity contains several dimensions of sexuality, which all influence each other.
Existing literature indicates that prophylactic surgery can cause sexual challenges, but there is limited knowledge about the extent and how women experience the effect on their sexuality.
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to generate knowledge about how healthy woman with BRCA-mutation experienced how the prophylactic surgery affected their sexuality.
Method: The study is based on the qualitative research method. As a data collection method, semi-structured interviews have been used. A total of 6 women participated in the study. All 6 women had undergone prophylactic surgery as a result of their BRCA mutation.
Result: The findings show that all of the 6 women experienced their sexuality affected after the prophylactic surgery. The study found that the women experienced a decrease in their desire, decreased lubrication, decreased orgasm and decreased sensitivity in their breasts, as well as an affected body image. The study also found, that the prophylactic surgery had contributed to a new distribution of roles for several of the couples, just as several of the women were now only involved in informal sexual relations. The study also showed that the women who were not yet in menopause prior to the prophylactic surgery experienced the sudden onset of menopause as something they were not prepared for. In addition, the study found that several of the women experienced grief over the loss of their fertility. To have a positive attitude was found to contribute to increased coping and a feeling of empowerment of the women in this study.
Conclusion: It is concluded in this project, that the undergoing of prophylactic surgery due to the BRCA-mutation gene affects sexuality either positively or negatively in several bio-psycho-social factors.

Subject heading: Sexuality, BRCA-gene, BRCA-mutation, prophylactic surgery, Coping, Experience, Breastcancer, Ovarian Cancer, BRCA1, BRCA2
Publication date3 May 2023
Number of pages134
ID: 526736558