|Coping: Intimacy Fact Sheet|
|The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania|
Breast Cancer, Intimacy and Sexuality
Because of the physical changes in the body, breast cancer can make a woman feel differently about herself. It may also affect feelings about relationships, particularly physical intimacy. These are very real-and, also, very natural feelings. Be attuned to how you are feeling and find ways to discuss these concerns with your partner, doctor, nurse, friend, another patient with breast cancer, or a counselor. It is important to understand and address these concerns so that they do not have a long-term effect on you and people close to you.
Will my relationship change?
How will my partner feel?
Will my sexual desire change?
Emotional issues can be a major factor as well. Because of the physical change in your body, your feelings about yourself may change and this can lead to a loss of desire. Becoming more comfortable and accepting of physical changes, and recognizing that you as a person have not changed, is key. Understanding how you and your partner are feeling, and accepting them, is part of the process toward finding different ways to feel close and loved. Many of the factors that contribute to a personal change in sexual desire resolve over time so that you can return to your prior level of desire and activity.
Will I feel depressed?
What can I do?
The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center offers programs that cover this subject. We also offer a Counseling Service where you and/or your partner can comfortably discuss these issues with an experienced, caring professional. The American Cancer Society has an excellent booklet, Sexuality and Cancer, which is available for free by calling your local ACS.