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Published on October 28, 2016

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Cancer Survivorship: Restoring Intimacy

Your survivorship journey begins the moment you hear the diagnosis – “You have breast cancer” – and continues throughout treatment and the remainder of your life. And when it comes to breast cancer, the high rate of survivorship provides hope for life as a survivor.

So, how can you live your best life after cancer treatment?

Hope Beyond Treatment

One overlooked reality for cancer survivors – especially survivors of breast and gynecologic cancers – is that they may experience changes in sexual function such as lack of lubrication, decreased desire and arousal or discomfort and pain during intercourse.

It’s a common, but often unspoken side effect of cancer treatment that too many women face alone.

Avera’s Sexual Medicine Program helps women find the treatment and support they need to restore intimacy and renew their hope for the quality of life they can experience as a cancer survivor.

Confidential & Compassionate Care

“It’s personal and intimate conversation, so it’s all about building trust and creating an environment where women can feel comfortable talking about these issues,” says Matthew Barker, MD, FACOG.

Barker created the Sexual Medicine Program in collaboration with Avera Cancer Institute. “It’s nice to be part of a health system that looks beyond the disease state and looks at the whole person. Here at Avera, our goal is not only to cure people of cancer, but to also provide them with the best quality of life possible.”

Personalized Treatment

Based on your individual needs, the Sexual Medicine Program’s holistic team approach brings together experts from urogynecology, cancer care, counseling, physical therapy and more to restore this important aspect of your life.

Treatment options encompass the full spectrum of care for mind, body and spirit. “Women can find the support and therapies they need to address the stress of being a cancer survivor or experiencing issues with intimacy, body changes, muscles changes, or other conditions that can occur as women age,” adds Barker.

Through the Sexual Medicine Program, women have access to a variety of treatments, including:

  • Counseling for individuals or couples
  • Hormonal replacement therapy
  • Integrative medicine services including acupuncture and aromatherapy
  • Muscle exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Urogynecologic care for pelvic pain, prolapse or incontinence

Barker also works closely with oncologists throughout the Avera Cancer Institute region to ensure continuity of care. “By working closely with other specialties throughout Avera, we hope to create a specialized team approach that helps survivors improve their quality of life and live their best life possible.”

Avera Medical Group Urogynecology can help you if you or a loved one experiences issue with intimacy after cancer treatment.

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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