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If you are suffering from treatment side effects that disturb your quality of life, speak to your doctor. There may be ways of decreasing undesirable side effects while still reducing your risk of a breast cancer recurrence. These tools include diet changes, stress reduction techniques, acupuncture, vaginal lubricants and antidepressants. For lifestyle changes that may help ease side effects, read our recommendation for the ten lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk of recurrence.
After undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation your body will look and feel different. Your hair may be growing back, you may have new breasts, you will have additional scars from surgery, and your sexual response may have changed. It is important to realize that it will take time for you to get to know and accept the “new you.” Try to remain patient with your body and remember that these changes did not occur overnight so learning how to accept them will take time too. If you find yourself struggling with this, remember that most breast cancer patients go through this adjustment. In the meantime, it may be helpful to visit a support group or speak to a trained professional such as a social worker or psychologist.
Breast cancer survivors discuss accepting their bodies after breast cancer surgery - learning how to be comfortable with the changes that occurred, and how others responded to these changes.
Couples often reduce or discontinue sexual intercourse while a woman is in active treatment. Although this is very common, you and your partner may now look forward to having your sex life return back to normal. Many women experience one or more physical sexual side effects after active treatment is over, especially if receiving endocrine therapy. These include issues decreased interest in sex or difficulty reaching climax.
Young breast cancer survivors discuss body image and sexuality after cancer.
Some breast cancer survivors have found relief trying the following steps:
Communicating any of these issues with your partner can be helpful in maintaining a healthy sexual relationship. If problems continue, discuss them with your oncologist and/or gynecologist at your next visit.