Welcome to the new monthly Sex Matters column on Breastcancer.org. I am honored and overjoyed that Breastcancer.org has the vision to include this important topic for their followers and for all women who are living with breast cancer.
As a sexual medicine gynecologist and a certified sexual therapist, I hope to bring to light some of the complexities of breast cancer sexuality.
Each month in Sex Matters, my focus will be threefold:
- We’ll discuss the treatment-related physical issues that affect sexuality, including changes in the body, hormones, and brain chemicals.
- We’ll also talk about the psychological issues that can impact sexual function, including mood changes, dealing with stress, depression, and sexual self-esteem concerns, or how a woman views herself as a sexual being.
- And finally, we’ll provide some practical suggestions to help women reclaim their sexual selves during and after treatment.
Who should read Sex Matters? Any woman, regardless of type of diagnosis or time with breast cancer, can benefit. We also encourage partners, if available, to read the column each month! And Sex Matters isn’t just for the young survivor — sexuality is a vital part of the adult human experience, no matter what your age! You’re never too old.
According to most statistics, approximately 50-90% of women who’ve been treated for breast cancer suffer from one form of sexual problem either during or after cancer treatment. Approximately one-fourth also report long-lasting sexual problems up to 20 years after their cancer diagnosis and treatment, and most feel that their sexual issues developed because of the medical and psychological changes that occurred at the time of treatment. Although sexual issues are common after breast cancer treatment, it’s crucial to remember that there are safe, effective interventions that can help revive and restore sexual health.
Sex Matters will address the most common sexual problems including issues with desire, arousal, lubrication, and sexual pain. The column will also discuss the changes that many women experience, including changes in orgasmic strength and intensity during breast cancer care. We hope to provide practical suggestions for you. Expect some take-home exercises, suggestions, and links for resources. We also encourage you to use the comments area below to submit your questions about sexuality during and after treatment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll select some of them to answer in future columns!
Sex matters for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Sexual health and wellness is overall health and wellness.
I’ll see you here next month, when we’ll talk about vaginal dryness, answer some of your questions, and offer practical suggestions.
We hope you enjoy the column!