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The Unmentioned Problems for Cancer Survivors: after Effects of Cancer and Sex
Going through the process of cancer treatment can be something that we hear about, and those that get through the process are often given counseling and preparation for what to expect. The percentages of cancer survivors are increasing, which is an incredible plus, but there are some things that cancer survivors did not expect, that can change their lives drastically.
Surviving chemotherapy, radiation treatment, nausea and hospital confinements for cancer can be a long and painful process for both the patient and their family. If you are the two in three that survive, you will have to be aware of some other problems that may arise. Women, especially, suffer the greatest consequences. The treatment can throw them into early menopause, completely disrupting their hormonal and biological balance.
As sexual beings, we don’t imagine that we may be forced to eliminate sex from our lives as part of the price we pay for cancer survival. In some cases, women can experience vaginal stenosis, which is a narrowing process of the vaginal passage. This leaves the woman in a condition where intercourse is impossible. Often called ‘born again virgin’ (BAV), this is a devastating condition. The debilitating effects on the patient’s sexual health is not one that doctors pay very much attention to. In essence, this is not part of the standard counseling.
Other conditions that a patient can experience due to the treatment can include genital pain, vaginal dryness, skin sensitivity, extreme fatigue and fertility issues. The desire for sex also scores lower on the charts, as the patient simply loses interest due to the various problems that occur during pre and post treatment. Studies done with cancer survivors are showing that the effects on the sexual lives of cancer patients can continue for years and is considered a long-term problem. This extends into a general lifestyle, as many cancer survivors feel a lot of discomfort just dating, as well as lowered self-confidence.
This topic needs to be brought into the open as part of the recognition of cancer survival, and doctors and practitioners need to include these aspects as part of the reality for the patient.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Cancer Types31 May 2013|