As a counselor I am often a witness to the deep-seated fear of cancer, especially breast cancer in women. That’s not surprising: until recently, the diagnosis of cancer was almost always accompanied by a grim prognosis. Despite the leaps the medical community has made in diagnosing and treating many cancers, the ‘C’ word still sends a chill down our spines.
And here’s a paradox: despite the abundance of information and education on how to conduct breast self-exams and how to get tested, many of us still don’t…out of fear. For those of us with a higher risk of Breast Cancer, the fear-induced avoidance can become a self-fulfilling prophecy—creating the possibility for the very thing we are so afraid of.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is intended to spread understanding, provide education and information on access to services. Just as important, but commonly overlooked, is a discussion on the side effects breast cancer treatment can have on your sexual life.
I want to emphasize that the purpose of this blog is not to create distress or inject anxiety about the side effects of cancer treatment. Just as the goal of this month is to help uplift women with awareness and understanding, this blog is intended to foster awareness, to educate you on what to ask your doctor and what interventions to explore to address the side effects.
According to BreastCancer.org, 1 in 8 of US women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Women's death rates from Breast Cancer are higher than any other cancer aside from lung cancer. About 85% of breast cancer cases occur in those who have no family history of the disease.
The chilling statistics mean that we are all very likely to become Breast Cancer Survivors—whether we are the ones to get the disease or watch our loved ones suffer through it.