Sexuality for the Woman With Cancer

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Dealing with grief and loss

It’s common to feel grief over the losses linked to your cancer diagnosis and treatment. You may also notice sadness, anger, and even hostility toward those close to you. Cancer changes your sense of self, that is, how you think of your body and yourself. This can disturb your well-being, and affect how you see yourself sexually. It can also affect your ability to maintain relationships.

Grief is a natural response as you give up or make compromises about ideas of yourself and begin to find new ways to cope with the changes in your life and your body. It may take time for you to recognize some of these losses and changes. Remember that “different” does not have to mean “bad.” But it means you might develop new feelings and changes may come up even after you think you are finished grieving or adjusting. It can help if you can share your grief with someone close to you. If there’s no one near you that you want to confide in, you might consider joining a support group, or if you prefer, seeing a mental health professional. Just as it’s important to take care of pain in your body, painful feelings also need to be dealt with.

Last Medical Review: 08/29/2013
Last Revised: 08/29/2013