Archive for September 2017

Sexuality and Metastatic Breast Cancer

Whether with a partner or yourself, it’s not always easy to balance your sexual needs with the physical and emotional challenges of a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis.

“Some women tell me that a big part of why they have sex is because their partner has been so supportive, and they want to be able to give their partners pleasure,” says Lynn Wang, M.D., sexual medicine specialist at Main Line Health System in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. And that can be tough if sexual side effects of treatment and feelings about the future are interfering with physical intimacy.

In this section, we’ll talk about ways to manage the sexual issues that can often come up with a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis:

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Communicating With Your Doctor About Sexuality

You can do some things right now to make sex more physically comfortable and pleasurable. It makes sense to talk about any physical problems you are having with your doctor or nurse. Cancer treatment teams are being trained more and more on how to discuss and address sexual health issues. Still, research shows healthcare providers are not always ready to talk about sex with patients who are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Although your oncology treatment team most likely knows that sex is important to the people they treat, they may avoid discussing it because it’s not their area of expertise or because they feel uncomfortable asking about it. Another reason may be priority: healthcare providers tend to be more focused on treating metastatic breast cancer than addressing sexual concerns.

So when it comes to talking about ways to make sex more comfortable, you may need to take the initiative. Here are some ways to start the conversation with your healthcare provider:

  • Make sure your healthcare provider understands that sex/intimacy is important to you. This way, she or he will place a higher priority on getting your needs addressed.
  • Be as specific as you can about your problems so that your healthcare provider is able to explore possible solutions. For example, “Since this course of chemo started, intercourse has been painful.”
  • Ask if your hospital or clinic has resources or referrals on sex and metastatic breast cancer. Some facilities can link patients to a host of helpful information and experts. You can also check resources such as the American Cancer Society’s Sex and the Woman With Cancer. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and T…

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Sexuality and Bone Pain

Bone pain as a result of metastases can sometimes contribute to discomfort with certain sexual positions. Sometimes, experimenting with new approaches can help. Here are some ideas:

  • Tell your partner if you’re in pain. If sex causes any sort of pain, tell your partner about it. Don’t suffer in silence.
  • Try things other than intercourse. Sex can involve more than just intercourse and penetration. Sometimes, a heartfelt cuddle session can be satisfying. If you’re both up for a change, try oral sex, massage, or mutual masturbation. Besides alleviating discomfort caused by pressure or friction, expressing yourself sexually in various ways can also be fun.
  • Change positions. If the missionary position causes bone pain in your spine, for example, see if getting on top is more comfortable.
  • Use a pillow or wedge. Placing a pillow underneath a tender area may help alleviate pressure or friction. The Liberator Wedge is one example of a product that can reduce this type of pain with sexual positions.

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Fatigue and Sexuality

Fatigue is the most common side effect of breast cancer treatment. It’s that low-energy, tired-all-the-time feeling. As many as 9 out of 10 people experience fatigue at some point during treatment. What causes fatigue when you are receiving treatment for a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer?

  • Surgery can disrupt your body’s normal rhythm, causing fatigue that lasts longer than you may expect. General anesthesia and after-surgery discomfort, pain medication, and restricted activity can also cause fatigue.
  • Chemotherapy may reduce the number of red blood cells (the cells that deliver oxygen from your lungs to your cells), immune cells, and platelets (clotting cells) produced by your bone marrow. Chemotherapy medicines also can damage some cells or limit their ability to function. Low blood cell counts can contribute to fatigue. If you have a low red blood cell count, for example, a condition called anemia, you’ll probably have less energy. If your immune cell count is low, your body has to work harder to fight off infections. Infections and fever can lead to fatigue. Chemotherapy also may cause early menopause for some women. This changes the balance of hormones in your body and can lead to fatigue.
  • Radiation can often lead to fatigue. When you’re getting radiation, you may be feeling weak from earlier surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy to a large area of bone can lower your red blood cell and immune cell counts, whic…

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Lenape Field Hockey Breast Cancer Awareness Game in Marlton, NJ

October 17, 2017

06:00pm to 07:30pm


DIY Fundraisers

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Lenape Field Hockey is preparing for their 7th Annual Breast Cancer game v. on Monday, October 17th at 6:00 pm.

This tradition began during our 2011 season when a fellow coach’s Aunt was diagnosed with Breast Cancer the day we started preseason.  We have continued the tradition with Cherokee each season – and together, have raised and donated over $20,000 to organizations that support and educate all those impacted by Breast Cancer.

For this years game- we want to make sure everyone in the Lenape Family impacted by Breast Cancer is represented.  Before the game begins, players fro…

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Hot Flashes and Sexuality

A hot flash is a sudden, intense, hot feeling on your face and upper body. Hot flashes can be accompanied by a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, headache, weakness, or a feeling of suffocation, followed by chills.

Hot flashes happen when your body’s estrogen levels drop or estrogen receptors are blocked. Your body’s thermostat can get confused, resulting in hot flashes. Menopause can cause hot flashes, as can several treatments for metastatic breast cancer:

  • ovarian shutdown or removal
  • chemotherapy
  • hormonal therapy

If you’re experiencing hot flashes and they feel severe, talk to your doctor. If you’re taking hormonal therapy, he or she may be able to adjust your prescription.
In addition, try these tips to ease hot flashes:

  • Avoid hot flash triggers such as stress, cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, diet pills, spicy food, hot food or drink, hot tubs, saunas, hot showers, hot rooms, and hot weather.
  • Reduce the fat in your diet. A low-fat diet can help some people with hot flashes. Losing excess weight helps, but losing too much weight, or being too thin, can make hot flashes worse.
  • Wear layers so you can peel off one layer after another as you get warmer.
  • Avoid wearing heavy or thick fabrics such as wool, synthetics, or silk. Wear loose and airy fabrics such as cotton, linen, and rayon.
  • Sip ice water to cool down. Carry a water bottle full of cold water and ice.
  • Lower the room temperature by turning down the thermostat, turning on the air conditioner, or turning on the ceiling fan. Point a floor fan your way while you are sitting or sleeping.
  • Sleep in cotton pajamas or a nightgown. When hot flashes happen at night, nightclothes are easier to change than sheets.
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April on Scanxiety

  • 39 years old
  • Original diagnosis age 31, diagnosed metastatic age 36
  • Visalia, California
  • Bone mets throughout body
  • PET scan every 3-4 months
April Doyle

I don’t fear the scans themselves. In fact, I have had them so frequently the last three years, that I often manage to nap while it is going on. It’s the waiting. I typically do not receive scan results for 3-4 days following my test. During that time, I picture every possible worst case scenario, even if I feel relatively fine. The fear is what makes it hard to function, because even if you are pretty sure this time will be okay, you know the time is coming when it won’t be. I try to deal with it by staying busy and plan things to do so I am not just sitting there thinking. The thoughts creep in and cause the most helpless feeling as you’re at the mercy of the universe.

I am fortunate. My oncologist will sometimes pop his head into the room while I am waiting for him to give me my results and say “looks great, I’ll be in momentarily.” The relief that floods through my body weighs me down before giving way to euphoria. It’s an indescribable feeling. Hearing the opposite is also hard. The word progression may be the most hated in my life and those of my friends. Scanxiety is doubt, fear, terror, despair, and hope all tied up into a big knot. That knot lives within you, hiding for those months of scan free intervals, but returning stronger and more influential each time. My way of coping with it is to continue living my life as fully as possible, giving cancer the middle finger as I go about my day.

April Doyle manages social media and marketing for, an online space for women …

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