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Life After Breast Cancer

23

COURSE
UNDERSTANDING LIFE AFTER BREAST CANCER

Breast cancer seems ubiquitous. Most of us have yet to meet any person professionally or personally whose life has not been touched by breast cancer. These words are common: “I know someone who was just diagnosed with breast cancer.”

(1) Life After Breast Cancer

The stories can be heartwarming (e.g., the 40-year-old workaholic who reprioritizes her life after her diagnosis to slow down by spending more time meditating, eating well, playing with her kids, and making love with her husband) and others devastating (e.g., the 52-year-old woman whose husband drops her off at the bus station so that she can go to her radiation appointment alone while he leaves for a liaison with his young mistress).

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(2) Life After Breast Cancer

2. What is sexual health and vitality?

We discuss sexual health and vitality for breast cancer survivors.

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(4) Life After Breast Cancer

 What aspects of sexual response (e.g., desire, arousal, orgasm, and sexual comfort) might change after breast cancer treatment?

Any or all aspects of sexual response might change after breast cancer treatment. The categories of sexual disorders include:

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(3) Life After breast Cancer

Does every breast cancer survivor experience changes in her sexual health?

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 90% of breast cancer survivors experience some alteration in their sexuality.

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(5) Life After Breast Cancer

From a sexual health perspective, which couples adjust well and which do not after breast cancer and why?

One of the most important predictors of sexual vitality after breast cancer is sexual vitality before breast cancer. Couples who were able to “handle” life events such as child rearing, work or financial stressors, moves, and illnesses are typically able to adjust their sexual styles to accommodate for the changes associated with breast cancer.

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