Childhood cancer treatment can have a variety of side effects for patients, including sexual dysfunction, reproductive issues and sexual problems that may last for only a few months or persist for years. It can become even more difficult for the survivor when these problems begin to involve others and they need to communicate these side effects to their partners. People respond very differently and often unexpectedly when they learn someone they care about once had cancer. How much do you share, and when should you begin speaking about the experience?
Dr. Katz explains that when looking for support or advice, it might seem easy to turn to the internet but due to the complicated and often individual nature of the issues, it requires a discerning mind to sift through and find relevant information. What she recommends as helpful, is a conversation with a nurse, social worker or a counsellor who is more familiar with individual patients and has experience dealing with concerns like these.
Anne Katz, PhD, RN is a Clinical Nurse Specialist & AASECT Certified Sexuality Counsellor with Cancer Care Manitoba. She spoke at POGO’s 2013 Survivor Conference: Life after Childhood Cancer where she presented these and other ideas.
Straight Talk about Childhood Cancer is POGO’s new series of video shorts featuring the insights of experts whose leading-edge work impacts the care, treatment and quality of life of childhood cancer patients, survivors and their families.