Dr. Katz introduces herself and describes how breast cancer can change a woman's body image.
My name is Dr. Anne Katz. I am a doctorly prepared nurse, and I work as a sexuality counselor at CancerCare Manitoba, which is in Winnipeg, in Canada.
I really believe that body image is one of the central aspects of this experience. You know, women go through the shock and trauma of diagnosis, and then they go through treatment, which will often include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and then adjuvant therapy, which often involves hormonal manipulation. And at some point along this disease trajectory, they start talking about the changes in their body. If they are lucky they start talking about it. Often this is something that they really suffer in silence about.
So, you know, breasts, for women, are a symbol of our femininity. They are the organs that we nourish our babies with. They are sexual organs as well, and any and all of the treatments are going to disrupt that image that we have of ourselves as sexual beings.
About Dr. Katz, R.N., Ph.D.:
My professional life is focused on providing information, education and counseling to people with cancer and their partners about sexual changes that can occur during and after treatment. But there is another important aspect to this work; I want every cancer patient to be able to have a discussion about sexuality with their health care providers.