Young breast cancer survivors often go through a rapid change in menopause status due to cancer treatment and suffer from abrupt symptoms. This transition compels them to deal with unique medical and psychological side effects on their quality of life. One of the most affected quality of life domains is sexual functioning. This study explored the differences in frequency of sexual activity between young breast cancer survivors and young healthy women. It also examined whether this difference in sexual activity frequency was mediated by discomfort and/or pleasure during intercourse, both of which are affected by symptoms of premature menopause.
A total of 97 young breast cancer survivors and 75 young healthy women completed a sociodemographic questionnaire: the Fallowfield’s Sexual Activity Questionnaire (FSAQ) and the Menopausal Rating Scale (MRS). Additionally, the breast cancer participants completed a medical data questionnaire.
Findings revealed a significant direct effect between group and menopausal symptoms, menopausal symptoms and pleasure, and pleasure and frequency of sexual activity. Structural equation modeling explained the differences between the groups in frequency of sexual activity as mediated by menopausal symptoms and both pleasure and discomfort.
These results highlight the impact of pleasure on the frequency of young breast cancer survivors’ sexual activity, and its relation to menopausal symptoms. These young women should be provided with appropriate information and interventions that will help them experience increased pleasure during sexual activity despite their early and induced menopausal symptoms.

© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.