In this article, we will provide a review on sexuality and intimacy issues after treatment for breast cancer, including both the physical and emotional effects experienced by survivors, and the barriers of effective treatment with discussion of solutions to improve overall survivorship. What specialist s would you suggest that I talk with to learn more? Chemotherapy can lower estrogen levels and cause primary ovarian insufficiency. The studies of trials were mainly poorly designed; many of the trials were conducted with only small numbers of women and they measured benefit from the interventions in various different ways. What else can be done? Yes it is, Gina. What sexual changes or problems are common among women receiving this type of treatment?
Trials have not evaluated all potential impacts of the approaches they were testing, including any potential side effects. Is there a support group that you recommend? We may feel uneasy talking about problems with our sexual partner, let alone a health professional like a doctor or nurse. Couples may stop showing affection and discussing their worries. Vaginal stenosis less elastic, narrow, shorter vagina , vaginal atrophy weak vaginal muscles and thin vaginal wall , and vaginal itching, burning, and inflammation can also cause pain and discomfort during sex. But intimacy is no less important for cancer patients. A cancer diagnosis has the potential to change your physical appearance. Read more Patient Tip Treatment options are available for cancer patients dealing with sexual problems. Will any of these problems be permanent? The most important step is that women with cancer, those close to them, professionals and researchers begin to recognise that sexual problems after treatments for cancer are common. In this article, we discuss some of the specific challenges that present with each type of treatment and the socio-physical impact they have on survivorship. Your doctor may also suggest a gel or cream to stop an itchy, dry, or burning feeling. No trials have been done that have tested a combination of these approaches. It is usually safe to have sex during cancer treatment unless your doctor tells you not to. Many of these areas are queried on sexuality-specific questionnaires, including the one used by this author, the FSFI. Our findings will be ready this year. Internet counseling provides the opportunity for self-help, which can alleviate some of the privacy or embarrassment concerns. What about men with cancer? Our social work counselors can help you talk with your partner and explore ways to help you maintain intimate relationships both during and after cancer treatment. When sick, people need to feel close to others, to feel loved and supported. Radiation therapy to the pelvis such as to the bladder, cervix, colon, ovaries, rectum, uterus, or vagina can cause low estrogen levels and, therefore, vaginal dryness. Talking about sexual problems is difficult While sexual problems may be common there are difficulties in talking about them. Are there times when I should avoid sexual activity? Our partners too may be confused and unsure how to help. Sex can be a problem if you have bleeding in the genital area following a recent surgery or if your immune system is very weakened. What help is there for sexual problems?
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