Dating for breast cancer survivors
Although Repper says her husband supported her throughout treatment and recovery, they eventually decided to divorce.
As she entered this new phase of her life, an important question emerged: when and how should she tell a prospective sexual partner about her cancer experience and the fact that she has only one breast and a scar that runs from her sternum to her armpit?
“This is an issue I hear quite often, especially when I lecture,” observes Sueann Mark, Ph D, a clinical sexologist in San Francisco.
“It’s the number one question I get from single cancer survivors.
“I can’t say ‘on the third date’ or ‘the fifth date’ or ‘in your online profile.’ It’s different for everyone.” But for those who bear physical scars of their cancer journey beneath their clothing, it’s definitely time to talk when intimacy appears imminent.
Men Equally Affected The physical effects of cancer treatment also affect men and require the same pre-intimacy conversation.
Craig Roderique, 56, of Blanchard, Okla., received proton therapy for prostate cancer in 2010, which left him with sexual dysfunction that requires the use of Viagra (sildenafil).
Before they spoke for the first time, Danielson explained via e-mail that she had been treated for cancer and now used a voice machine. If, on the other hand, you approach the conversation with, ‘I have cancer as part of my history, but it doesn’t define who I am, and I’m ready to move forward with my life,’ that’s a very different thing.” Mark speaks from experience.
She received chemotherapy followed by a mastectomy and six weeks of external-beam radiation to the breast and armpit to treat her breast cancer.