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.
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.
Presentation Description: So you’ve survived childhood cancer and you have some of the cold hard facts from doctors about what may be next for your health. But what about those socially awkward conversations and situations you may encounter as a survivor that aren’t in the medical books? Lead by two childhood cancer survivors, this workshop explored those socially awkward, embarrassing, difficult and sometimes funny questions and conversations, from responding to “How’d you get that scar?” to telling a new dating partner about your unknown fertility status.
Speakers: Vanessa Pastoric, BHSc, CCLS
Certified Child Life Specialist
Grand River Hospital, Kitchener
Natalie Wilson, MA, CCLS Coordinator and Facilitator
Young Carers Program of Hospice Toronto
Presentation Description: This presentation discussed the role of body image and self esteem in healthy psychosocial development and overall happiness of one’s sexual self. For childhood cancer survivors these components can play a more complicated role. Some survivors struggle with body image and low self-esteem, whilst others feel that their self-esteem and body image are even stronger than their peers. This presentation included strategies on how to improve one’s sexual self.