Life after Cancer Editor, Jennifer Luce, comments on Lillie Shockney’s Female Sexuality Article
Lillie brings up a very important issue that is often swept under the carpet due to the general sensitivity around it – female sexuality. As a young adult ovarian cancer survivor of five years, sexuality and body image have been of focus to me not only due to my age, but because the psychological and hormonal effects were not something I expected, or felt comfortable talking about. If I had a better awareness about this prior to surgery or during treatment, I would have had a number of tools to utilize during the process.
Many of the issues a woman faces through the surgical removal of her breast resonated deeply with me. Though I did not lose something people would notice, fear overwhelmed me, causing a lot of anxiety. I felt disfigured by the large scar on my belly, and the idea that I had lost an ovary, felt like I had lost some part of what made me feminine. I can’t imagine how it must feel to lose something that much more visible.
Lillie’s focus on research brings to light the proof behind the need for the medical team of each woman diagnosed, to address the issues behind the effect of surgery and treatment. Dealing with a diagnosis is difficult enough without having to handle the psychological and physiological effects. Her suggestions are valuable to anyone affected by a female-specific cancer, whether it is the patient, a medical professional, friend, or partner.
Are you a young cancer survivor? How has treatment affected your sexuality? Leave us a comment. Your experience may help other survivors facing these issues…