Researcher Spotlight – Debra L. Barton, RN,PhD, FAAN

Dr. Barton from the University of Tennessee is addressing the sexual health needs of patients with breast cancer after treatment to improve their quality of life and maintain or restore intimacy. Five or more years of anti-estrogen therapies, such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, is proven to be effective at reducing the recurrence of breast cancers driven by estrogen. However, many women taking anti-estrogen therapies experience unwanted side effects, such as sexual dysfunction, changes in libido, and vaginal discomfort. These effects can be so troublesome that some women may stop therapy before completing the recommended course. Unfortunately, this important aspect of survivorship is not often addressed during routine medical care. Dr. Barton is investigating ways to help women and their partners regain intimacy, which is often put on hold during treatment. Management of these issues will help to improve patients’ quality of life during and after treatment. For complete details on her research, visit