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LIVE YOUR SOCIAL LIFE WITH CANCER /// CHAPTER 53
How do I talk about this?
Talk to Your Doctor about Intimacy
Prepare yourself for any physical changes during treatment by
having your doctor explain what these changes may be. During and
after treatment, inform your health care team about changes in
sexual health as they may be able to recommend options to reduce
discomfort. Treatment for sexual problems may include medications,
physical therapy, sexual health devices/products, and/or individual/
relationship counseling. Don't be embarrassed - this is an important
part of your life that needs to be addressed and you're not the first
patient with questions or concerns!
Talk with a therapist
For those that find things more difficult, a mental health provider
can help you cope with the physical and emotional trauma cancer
brings and determine how to move forward, whether with a partner
or looking for one. Look for a therapist with expertise in working with
people with cancer and/or sexual and relationship issues. Be sure to
talk to your doctor and ask for help finding a provider.
The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and
Therapists has a searchable directory of sexual health experts and
counselors.
Talk to Your Partner or Spouse
» Starting the conversation. Many partners/spouses need
reassurance that the person with cancer still has an interest in
being intimate, and vice versa. Your partner may be concerned
that expressing a wish to be intimate again will be a source of
stress and upset for both of you. Be open about your thoughts
and feelings so that you can send the message to your partner
that it's okay to talk about this.
» Be honest. Being upfront about your feelings can encourage
your partner to be honest about their feelings as well. Talk about
what feels good and what doesn't. Let your partner know if you're
tired or not feeling well. Good communication is an essential
part of any relationship, but it's especially important as you both
navigate the cancer experience.
» Talk about the physical closeness or space you need. Share how
you feel about your body. You may be self-conscious about a scar
or you may be coping with treatment side effects. Whatever your
needs are - whether you feel a need for physical affection, or
whether you are not yet interested in being physically intimate -
let your partner know. Your partner is most likely waiting for your
signal to know what to do, how to act, and what you need.
Find support and
information through
online resources
» Talk to your navigator about what
resources are available.
» There are a number of online groups
that host discussion boards where
you can " talk " about concerns with
someone who has been there.
» Will2Love is an online sexual selfhelp
program designed for cancer
survivors and partners.
» Rosy is an app designed to help
women with low desire/libido.
» Relish is an app created to improve
intimate relationships including textbased
relationship coaching.
» Request guidance from your medical
team about using vaginal dilators or
lubricants .
» Read stories from Elephants and
Tea written by Sexuality Columnist
and survivor Marloe Esch https://
elephantsandtea.com/author/
marloe/
» For more information about sexual
problems during cancer and
treatment for women, click here.
(https://www.cancer.gov/aboutcancer/treatment/side-effects/
sexuality-women)
https://www.will2love.com/ https://www.meetrosy.com/ https://www.hellorelish.com/ https://www.aasect.org/referral-directory https://www.aasect.org/referral-directory https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/how-use-vaginal-dilator http://www.amacf.org/women-with-cancer-thwart-vaginal-dryness-using-personal-lubricants/ http://https:// http://www.elephantsandtea.com/author/ https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/sexuality-women https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/sexuality-women https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/sexuality-women https://fwaya.org/

What Do I Do Now?

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