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Breast Cancer Patients Face Sexual Health Issues

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It's become more and more well known that even the most healthy women face sexual health issues more often than not. Now researchers have tried to see the correlation between sexual health issues and women with breast cancer.

Doctors conducted a survey at the memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, which aimed to determine the relationship between women with breast cancer and their sexual health experiences. The study included more than 500 women with breast cancer in varying stages at the MSKCC Breast Cancer Center and local centers in the area. The majority of women had undergone or were undergoing chemotherapy, and over 25 percent of women were experiencing cancer that had spread beyond the breasts.

The majority of women reported having sexual problems - 76 percent. The majority of women said that the symptoms they faced with regards to sexual health were irritating in some way - these symptoms included low libido or vaginal dryness.

According to Dr. Shari B. Goldfarb of the MSKCC, this is a particularly important study because as breast cancer patients begin to live longer because of treatment and earlier detection, issues of well being and living the best life one can becomes more of a priority and concern. And I needn't stress the importance of sexual health and sexual satisfaction as a part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

While actual solutions were not included in the study, there are steps breast cancer patients can take to improve their sexual health - having safe and loving sexual partners, using lubricant, masturbating and getting in touch with one's personal sexual pleasure, taking possible medicines that are still being created for women to improve sexual dysfunction issues, and even going to counseling or therapy are just a few of the many things that may work for someone.

Of course, talking to people you trust, other breast cancer survivors, or your doctor, about these issues, may be a good way to build a support system around a topic that may be uncomfortable, but is so important!

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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Nina - You've brought up an important topic, and it's good to know that the need to address women's sexual health following treatment for breast cancer is being recognized. It wasn't that long ago when many women died because they couldn't even discuss the topic of breast health, let alone sexuality.

Additionally, there are many other conditions in which women 's needs for information and education to address changes affecting sexuality due to their illness are not being met, including cardiac disease and spinal cord injury. Thanks for making us aware of this study. Pat

December 18, 2009 - 5:32pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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