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Sex After Cancer

Oncologists’ Assumptions About Cancer Survivors’ Sex Lives or Desire for Children

DO ONCOLOGISTS TEND TO MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT SURVIVORS' SEX LIVES, OR DESIRE FOR CHILDREN?

"Just this week I sat with a woman who had vulvar cancer," recalls Sharon Bober, Ph.D., director of the sexual health program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "She had a difficult surgery; she was going to lose her clitoris. So there was a lot on the line. But nobody bothered to talk to her about what was so obvious: the profound loss of her sex life, her body image. Why? Probably because she was a widow in her late sixties. She told me, 'For years I have been having this wonderful affair with the 80-year-old widower who lives down the street.' It's a huge loss!"

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