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After Cancer, Survivors Find Sex An Unspoken Challenge27:59
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According to estimates, somewhere between 40 and 100 percent of cancer survivors suffer from some kind of sexual problem directly related to their illness. (Courtesy Creative Commons)
According to estimates, somewhere between 40 and 100 percent of cancer survivors suffer from some kind of sexual problem directly related to their illness. (Courtesy Creative Commons)

A cancer diagnosis is a life-altering moment; for almost everyone with the disease the major concern is about survival. But a growing number of patients living with cancer are worried about how the disease is having a negative impact on their sex lives.

There are nearly 12 million cancer survivors living in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. Many of those patients — estimates range between 40 and 100 percent depending on the type of cancer and how it’s treated — suffer from some kind of sexual problem directly related to their illness.

Millions of cancer survivors experience frigidity or impotence or a complete loss in interest in sex. The problem is that few doctors are trained to address this issue.

Boston offers one of the few programs in the country that helps cancer survivors and their partners restore their sex lives: A program focused on sexual health for cancer patients and survivors at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

In a recent interview with WBUR's CommonHealth blog, Dr. Sharon Bober, a clinical psychologist and director of the program, said her goal is "to help patients feel pleasure once again in their bodies."

Guests:

  • Rachel Zimmerman, co-host, WBUR's CommonHealth blog
  • Dr. Sharon Bober, director, Sexual Health Program for Cancer Patients and Survivors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Michelle Nagel, cancer survivor

More:

This segment aired on May 17, 2011.

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