Smart IS the New Sexy when it comes to Late Effects of Cancer Treatment
Survivor, arm yourself with knowledge of your treatment history [and] risk for late effects.
Surviving survivorship is a jagged pill to swallow, but even more so when no one is willing to approach the very real impact that late effects of cancer treatment can [and] do have on one’s sexual health and wellbeing.
Sexual late effects are often NOT discussed within the four walls of an exam room [and] let’s be honest, it’s not something you place on the coffee table as a conversation piece either. Since we’re being honest here, the silence surrounding sexual health in general is deafening.
Emotional Late Effects that Impact Sexual Health:
- Body Image Changes: you no longer look like the pre-cancer, pre-treatment YOU
- Shattered Dreams: grieving one’s ability to bear [or] father one’s biological children
- Fear [of] Intimacy: a desire to be intimate, yet a fear of being exposed, vulnerable
- Fear [of] Rejection: the need to be fully known [and] fully accepted, yet the ever-present fear of rejection
- Lack [of] feeling, much less, believing that YOU are desirable, that YOU are SEX
- Your significant other viewing you as fragile [and] not wanting to hurt you, but also not wanting to be rejected by you
- Post Traumatic Stress, Depression, and Anxiety
- Guilt over not matching your significant others drive/need for sex [and] intimacy
Physical Late Effects that Impact Sexual Health:
- Irregular periods, late onset menarche, absence of signs of puberty
- Premature Menopause: In the 30’s rather than the expected mid-40’s to 50’s
- Primary Ovarian Failure: Decreased or depleted anti-malaria hormone
- Decreased [or] undetectable sperm counts
- Peripheral Neuropathies affecting sensation in erogenous zones
- Decreased Lubrication, thus painful penetration
- Difficulty reaching orgasm
- Erectile Dysfunction
So, why am I writing about SEX, getting your GROOVE back, [and] putting the SEX back in your SEXINESS?
- Surviving survivorship begins with YOU, survivor, getting SMART
- MHYH’s mission is to EDUCATE [and] EQUIP survivors regarding the potential late effects of cancer therapies as we know them today
- Suleika Jaouad’s post to the NYT’s WELL blog on 02/14/2013
- In my opinion, the effect of cancer therapies on sexual health should NOT be TABOO
- My lived experience has proven to me that knowledge of risk, even sexual risk, is ESSENTIAL
Finally, in my opinion [and] my lived experience, smart IS the new SEXY. [Not to mention SEX [and] SEXY are good for the HEART: BOOM!]
Survivor, educate [and] equip yourself because on this issue, it is the few who will broach the subject with you.Tweet