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Personal Relationships

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The Language of Comforting

by Val Walker

It can be hard to find the right words to say to comfort someone coping with cancer. At times, we might even avoid contact completely because we fear saying the wrong thing. Here are some suggestions for what to say – and what not to say – to a loved one, friend, or coworker facing cancer.

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Addressing Sexual Recovery after Prostate Surgery

by Victor Hola, RN

Most men undergoing surgery to remove their prostate will experience difficulty getting an erection for varying lengths of time after surgery. In order to restore sexual vitality, two main areas need to be addressed. The first is largely physical. The second can have both physical and psychological factors. The road to sexual recovery is not always an easy one, but with time, effort, and a little bit of patience, success is possible.

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Confronting Cancer as a Couple

by Sandra Bernstein, MSN, RN, CS, LMFT

No one plans for cancer. It drops in suddenly, affecting not only your life but also the lives of everyone who cares about you, especially your spouse or partner. While each couple’s experience is unique, it’s com­mon for the predictability of daily life to be replaced with uncertainty. Whether cancer requires little change in your daily life for a short period or many changes that need to be accommodated over the long haul, change is inevitable. These changes can add stress to your relationship, but they also can create opportunities to deepen your connection.

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Know Your Options for Starting a Family after Cancer

by Sarah C. Hessler, MD, and Aimee Seungdamrong, MD

The ability to start a family is now a possibility for increasing numbers of women and men after cancer treatment. If you’ve been wondering whether you’ll be able to have children after chemotherapy or radiation, you’ll be pleased to know that, thanks to advances in the field of reproductive assistance and fertility preservation, you do have several options to consider.

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Coping Together
When the Diagnosis is Metastatic Breast Cancer

by Hoda Badr, PhD

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you have probably gone through treatment hoping for remission or recovery. However, if your healthcare team tells you that your cancer has metastasized, you and your partner may be facing new choices regarding your care and your future together. This can be a time of frustra­tion, fear, poor communication, and physical discomfort. But this also can be a time of growth, meaning, and healing. By coming to understand each other’s perspective, you and your part­ner can begin to work as a team to navigate this experience together.

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How to Help Your Children Cope with a Sibling’s Cancer

by Lynne M. Kaplan, PhD

Siblings often have a special bond. Even with all the bickering, the love between siblings is strong. When one of those siblings is diagnosed with cancer, their worlds change. While the family meets with the medical team and learns about the can­cer and treatment, the children without cancer often aren’t included. Thus, the healthy siblings may wonder what’s going on with their brother or sister.

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Becoming a Mother after Breast Cancer Treatment

by Evelyn Mok-Lin, MD, and Glenn Schattman, MD

The opportunity to have children, raise a family, and experience the joys of motherhood is a very real prospect for many young women with breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there are currently over 350,000 young women between the ages of 20 and 39 years old living with cancer in the U.S. Because there are so many reproductive-age cancer survivors who may want children in the future, the topic of fer­tility has become increasingly important to a woman’s treatment, recovery, and healing process.

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Parenting with Cancer

by Marisa Minor, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

How can I help my children cope with my cancer diagnosis? This ques­tion is one of the first many parents ask after being diagnosed with cancer. It may seem inevitable that cancer will have an impact on your child’s life. But the good news is, with healthy coping strategies and open communication among family members, the impact can be positive and meaningful.

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