Reclaiming Your Sexuality after Ovarian Cancer
What is ovarian cancer, how can you get yourself check, and where learn more about it? But they also share their tips on an often overlooked topic: the sex life of cancer patients. Sex is a natural part of our life and plays a role in our overall well-being. As such, it deserves our attention as part of our recovery process. As part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, we partnered with Consumer Safety Organization to broadcast the message.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is one of five types of gynecological cancer, where malignant tumors of different types develop in the ovaries and in later stages, spread to the pelvis and abdomen. Most often, ovarian cancer goes undetected until it has spread from the ovaries because symptoms do not usually start presenting themselves until this stage. This makes ovarian cancer one of the most frequently misdiagnosed cancers, as the symptoms that show up in the early stages are common to less serious health problems. If the cancer is detected in its early stages, it is easier to treat, as well as more successful. Unfortunately, only 15% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at this stage. It’s important to talk to your physician to see if you’re at risk of ovarian cancer.
Reclaiming Your Sexuality After Cancer
Being diagnosed with cancer brings many different feelings and can drastically impact self-confidence and a woman’s sexuality. Although it is commonly advised to wait about six weeks after a hysterectomy before engaging in intercourse, some women are still hesitant. Everyone is different and after treatments- some women feel a stronger need for closeness in relationships, while someone women withdraw from them. If intercourse is something that makes you uncomfortable after treatment for any reason, it’s okay to open up and talk to your partner, or seek help elsewhere and speak with a counselor. Intimacy and feeling good about your sexuality can also be so much more than sexual intimacy, there are many ways to connect on an emotional level that can make women feel just as sexy.
1. Spend time with your partner to connect.
Talking with your partner about your past sex-life together and the potential of your future sex-life can reignite the flame and make you more comfortable. Set up the atmosphere and try to re-establish intimacy with your partner. It’s a good idea to do these things without expecting anything in return so that you are in control of how far the level of intimacy goes and you get to decide exactly how things are going to go. Place scented candles around the room, use lotion, and give your partner a foot rub or a back massage. This can build intimacy, bring you closer to your partner, and make you feel great about yourself as well.
2. Overcome self-consciousness.
Everyone feels different post-cancer treatment, and some people don’t feel any different about themselves. It’s normal to have feelings of self-consciousness from your scars while being intimate. The ways you make yourself comfortable while being close with your partner are different for everyone. You can come to a conclusion with your partner on not touching or going near areas where you have scars, or you can try to overcome the self-consciousness and work towards touching the scars yourself or having your partner reassure you that they still find you beautiful- scars and all.
Struggling with sexuality after cancer treatment is something that very common among cancer patients. If you are experiencing these worries, don’t hesitate to reach out to your partner or a counselor to help you through it.
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