Cancer & Sexuality

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Sexuality may not be the primary focus for many cancer patients, but at some point, whether because of sexual changes, relationship issues, or difficulties with fertility, patients realize the impact of cancer on their sexuality. In this Patient Power program sponsored by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Leslie Schover joins Andrew to discuss sexual health when faced with a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Schover is a Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science at M. D. Anderson, as well as an author. Also joining the program to tell her story is Pamela, a young breast cancer survivor.

The program begins with Pamela telling her story, how she was diagnosed, and how her treatment and surgery affected her sexual health and intimate relationships. Pamela talks about the issues she faced and where she turned for help. She also speaks candidly about her hope to have children in the future.

Dr. Schover explains the many different side effects and symptoms associated with cancer treatment. These range from desire and arousal to vaginal dryness and erectile function, and even feeling less sexually attractive. Dr. Schover provides many options to relieve most symptoms that affect both men and women. She stresses the importance of maintaining communication with your partner.

Pamela received the help she needed from Dr. Schover, among others. She sums it up by saying “I just try to stay hopeful, try to enter a relationship with someone with an open mind and to be honest about what's going on with my body and as far as my survivorship and what I expect out of intimacy. I think that's the best thing.”

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Page last updated on October 7, 2015