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Sex After Cancer

Pre-Treatment Sex and Fertility Counseling

IS THERE AN EXPERT I CAN TALK WITH — AND BRING INTO THE CONVERSATION NOW, RATHER THAN AFTER MY TREATMENTS?

Unfortunately (and honestly), cancer centers are only now waking up to the realization that sex and fertility counseling need to be part of a comprehensive survivorship program. Oncologists and surgeons ought to be trained and able, believes Gregory Broderick, MD, a urologic surgeon and professor of urology at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, and past president of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America, to tell patients they simply don't know the answer to a sex or fertility question if that's the case — and refer to somebody who does.

Typically though, survivors are referred after treatments are finished. "This is something we talk a lot about," say Sharon Bober, Ph.D., director of the sexual health program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "My chief of gynecological radiation oncology has told me she thinks all patients ought to see me at the beginning, not the end, of treatment." In sex, as in life, there's work to be done.

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