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Personal Relationships

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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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One Step at a Time

by Melanie Davis, PhD

You may have crossed sexual intimacy off your priority list when you found out you had cancer. If you’re in active treat­ment, you may not feel like being sexual in the same ways you were before diag­nosis. After treatment, sex may still seem unappealing or even painful. This is all normal. But if you’re ready to bring sexual intimacy back into your life, you can work through the challenges – one small step at a time.

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Cancer Is a Family Affair

by O.J. Sahler, MD

A diagnosis of childhood cancer is the beginning of major changes in how a family operates. Fear and anxiety about the child’s type of cancer and whether effective treatments are available, trips to the cancer center for treatment, and recurrent periods when the child just doesn’t feel well not only take the parents’ time but can also sap their energy and emotional reserves. In addition, parents have to make decisions about how to maintain health insurance and provide for their family’s living expenses.

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The Importance of Social Support during Cancer

by Barbara L. Andersen, PhD

Having cancer can be an isolating experience. But during this time, social support is very important. The challenge for you is to figure out what type of support you need, from whom to get it, and how long you will need the support. For people with many social connections, friends and family are good resources with which to begin. For those with few relationships, healthcare professionals, peers, and other cancer survivors may instead provide solace and support.

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