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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.

The perfect team for handle the situation must include a medical doctor, one a nurse practitioner, and a social worker, all are professional sexologists and work each day with inspiring breast cancer survivors. We can speak with one voice as discuss the difficult sexual challenges that individuals and couples face after cancer, as well as the transformative power that reestablishing sexual health can have for a woman and her partner.

What is sexual health? How do I know whether I am sexually vital? Is it possible to regain the level of sexual wellness that I had before my diagnosis and treatment?

For every couple, sexual health and vitality are different and unique (e.g., how you feel as a sexual person, how you “connect” with your partner, or the attitudes you cherish toward your sexual activity). Recently, the National Women’s Health Resource Center, in cooperation with the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals and Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,200 women (ages 18–50 years) in the United States to look at female sexual health.

The survey found that 81% of women believe that sexual health is important for overall health but that 70% had experienced some difficulty (unfortunately, only 18% had consulted with a healthcare provider). Women ranked a healthy sex life higher in importance than career satisfaction, home ownership, travel, and social life. When asked about their sexual health, women conceptualize healthy sexuality differently, especially in terms of quantity (e.g., having intercourse two to three times per week or three to four times per month). Surprisingly, nearly 80% of the women who participated agreed about quality. They felt that a woman was truly healthy when she

1. Had a satisfying sex life.

2. Had a good relationship with her partner.

3. Experienced some level of sexual satisfaction.

These papers address all of the areas of sexual health, citing examples from clinical practices and from the sexual health literature.

Terms:

Cancer - A disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth that ultimately causes destruction of normal healthy tissue.

Intercourse Sexual contact usually involving coitus or penile vaginal penetration.

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

 

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