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When you're first diagnosed with breast cancer, all you can think about is "Am I going to die?
The sexual side effects of breast cancer can linger long after treatment stops.
A 2007 follow-up report on young breast cancer survivors, conducted by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley, found that some women reported persistent sexual difficulties five years after their treatment had ended.
And according to the National Cancer Institute, about one out of every two women who’ve undergone breast cancer treatment experiences long-term sexual dysfunction. But the good news is there is sex after breast cancer! “Women sometimes feel very disconnected from their bodies when they go through this,” says Jean Carter, Ph D.
Carter is a licensed psychologist and the sexual health counselor for the sexual health program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“Your body’s been through so much and it’s worked to get well,” she says.
”But there have been sacrifices.” One thing you need to know early on is that your partner still finds you attractive and desirable.
That’s rough on the days when you look in the mirror and can’t imagine ever feeling sexy again, much less looking sexy to someone else.
It’s important to prepare yourself and your partner for what you’ll see.
If you haven’t yet had surgery, ask your breast center if they have photographs of women after the kind of surgery you’ll undergo.
Look at them with your partner and talk about what to expect.
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