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Libido as Part of Sexuality in Female Cancer Survivors

Debra Barton
MaryBeth Wilwerding
Lisa Carpenter
Charles Loprinzi
ONF 2004, 31(3), 599-610 DOI: 10.1188/04.ONF.599-610

Purpose/Objectives: To present the state of knowledge and a suggested program of research related to one part of sexual functioning in female cancer survivors: libido.

Data Sources: Journal articles, monographs, and book chapters.

Data Synthesis: Sexuality is a broadly defined term with many components. Libido is a component of sexuality and is reviewed with respect to definition, physiology, and measurement. Evidence-based interventions also are discussed.

Conclusions: Most of the evidence related to enhancing libido involves testosterone, but this has not been tested in cancer survivors. Several clinical questions are yet to be answered regarding physiology as well as nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic interventions for enhancing libido.

Implications for Nursing: Nurse researchers could add much to the evidence base on interventions for improving libido and, subsequently, sexual health. Implementing behavioral interventions to enhance libido would be an appropriate nursing function.

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