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Patterns of sexual health in patients with breast cancer in China: a latent class analysis



This study aimed to identify unobserved distinct latent classes/subgroups of breast cancer (BC) patients in China with respect to various sexual health measures and examine the association of the latent membership with individual characteristics.


In a cross-sectional study, 123 BC patients were analyzed. Their sexual health was measured using the Female Sexual Functioning Index (FSFI). Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to examine the patterns of sexual health in patients. Associations of the latent class membership with individual characteristics were examined using multinomial logistic regression.


Three a priori unknown distinct latent classes of patients were identified with respect to the 19 FSFI sexual health measures: 50 patients (41.6%) were classified in class 1 “No Impairment Group,” 49 patients (39.4%) in class 2 “Organic Sexual Dysfunction Group,” and 24 patients (19.1%) in class 3 “Poor Sexual Health Group.” Income and anxiety were positively, whereas disease duration was negatively associated with the likelihood of being in class 2 than in class 1, patients with recurrence of cancer were likely to be in classes 2 and 3. Patients classified in class 3 were more likely to have better prior body image and have more severe menopausal symptoms, whereas less likely to have better post body image and have better partner relationships.


The findings revealed the heterogeneity of sexual health among BC patients in China and may guide to identify the high-risk patients and enable early intervention.

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The study was sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, 2019 (No. 71874032) and Scientific Research Foundation of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, 2016(No. 20164Y0135).

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Correspondence to Changrong Yuan.

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Yuan, X., Wang, J., Bender, C.M. et al. Patterns of sexual health in patients with breast cancer in China: a latent class analysis. Support Care Cancer (2020).

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  • Breast cancer
  • Sexual health
  • Female sexual dysfunction
  • Latent class analysis (LCA)