Dating and disclosure for cancer survivors

Barbara Alterowitz, who together with her husband, Ralph (himself a prostate cancer survivor), founded the Center for Intimacy after Cancer Therapy, and they have jointly written several books on cancer and sexuality.

Barbara says that self-esteem and body image can play a major role for these patients.

When Neil Coker was treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the hair loss that resulted from cancer treatments was not the biggest physical change to which he had to adapt.

I guess I took it as, I’m going to tell her, and if she can handle it, great; if not, well, I’ve got more important things to worry about.” Though Neil and his wife have weathered many storms since the initial diagnosis— including several recurrences and treatments—cancer continues to occupy a major place in their lives as they strive to maintain a healthy, happy relationship. ’ and get snappy with them.” “Treatment affects body, mind, and soul, and weathering the ups and downs together requires communication and compassion on both sides,” says Dr.

“Every once in a while, especially when it’s time for scans, I think, It weighs on your mind and affects your attitude and daily productivity level. Mark, adding that sexual interaction, an important part of the relationship, can be a challenge for couples after a diagnosis.

Intimacy, feeling nurtured and close to your partner, should be there.” Dr.

Mark encourages couples to “continue to be as sexual as possible during treatment to maintain a sense of intimacy outside the rigors of treatment. The two now counsel other couples dealing with cancer.

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“Whether you are in a relationship or starting a new one, you have the opportunity to build a new sexual relationship from scratch,” she says.

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