Treatment for breast cancer can cause changes both to you and how you feel about yourself. It may take some time for you (and your partner if you have one) to adjust to these changes. You may feel a sense of loss or become angry that your sexual life has changed so much.
However, some women find that experiencing a life-threatening illness like cancer makes them want to embrace life fully and they put more energy and enthusiasm into their sex lives because of this.
Everyone’s feelings are different and it’s important to remember there’s no wrong or right way to feel. Being honest with yourself and with those close to you can help you understand both how you feel about your breast cancer and how it’s affected your sexuality.
You might like to order our Moving forward resource pack, available from our publications section. The pack contains information on a range of topics that may be relevant to you after treatment for primary breast cancer.
Seeking professional help
If you’re concerned about any issues relating to your sexuality and sexual relationships that you want help in resolving it may be worthwhile talking to your oncologist, breast care nurse or GP.
Even if it’s been a while since you finished your treatment your breast care nurse can still be a useful point of contact. She may be able to help with some of the difficulties you’re experiencing – for example, issues around reconstruction, vaginal dryness or concerns about menopausal symptoms.
In some instances you may need specialised help and sometimes it can be easier to talk to a healthcare professional than someone close to you. This may mean you, or you and your partner, seeing a counsellor or a therapist who deals specifically with sexual issues. Your GP or breast care nurse should be able to help arrange this for you.