For most women, a diagnosis of breast cancer is not a death sentence. Early detection and treatment with a combination of surgery, radiation, drugs, and/or hormones has led to 5 year survival rates being at an all time high. So what is all the pink ribbons fuss about? Quite simply, the information above is about survival rates not a cure. The University of Kentucky Comprehensive Breast Care Center reports that one in eight Kentucky women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Breast cancer changes your life. Unfortunately, the statistics tell us that this cancer is a make or break disease for relationships. Those lucky enough to have strong, loving, supportive relationships may come through the cancer treatment with their relationships stronger than ever. All too often though, breast cancer pressures small weaknesses in relationships until they become major fault lines. Both partners must be willing to work to keep the relationship from crumbling around their feet.
Lets face it ladies, sex isn’t at the top of our agenda when the “C-word” enters the picture. Treatment makes matters worse. Nobody is sexy when they are sick, sore, and scared. If a mastectomy is involved, you can add disfigured to the equation. Radiation usually costs hair loss and all the anxiety that brings. Then there is chemotherapy with the lovely side effect of premature menopause. It is hard to remember when you are in the middle of this medical storm that treatment ends and you will get your sex drive back. It is harder still to talk to your partner about what you’re going through and how much you need support. Make the effort.
Nobody is a mind reader. Talk about the changes going on in your body. Talk about your insecurities, your fears, and your body image. The people who love you will understand. You may even find that your partner has a few fears and insecurities. Being able to talk about what you want and what you are able to do may bring romance back into your life long before you are well enough to enjoy sex. After all, half the fun is anticipation of what is to come.
One other thing that you need to remember is that help is available. Below is a list of support groups that you can contact. I’m sure there are others that your doctor can discuss with you.
After Breast Cancer
100 E. Liberty St., Suite 600
Louisville, KY 40202
Contact person: Harriet Chalfant
For women affected by breast cancer. Meets at 7 p.m. at the Health Department the third Thursday of each month.
(859) 987-7280 (h) (859) 987-2108 (w)
For women affected by breast cancer. Meets for a potluck dinner and sharing at 6:30 p.m. at the Bourbon General Hospital cafeteria the first Monday of each month.
Contact: Beverly Sciptt
Breast Cancer Support Group
King’s Daughters Medical Center
2201 Lexington Ave.
Ashland, KY 41101
Contact person: Sherry Hunt
Breast Cancer Support Group
(606) 886-8511 x7575
Prestonburg, KY 41653
Contact person: Shirley Davis
Breast Implant Survivors
Lexington, KY 40504
Louisville Area Mastectomy Assoc. (LAMA)
Pink Ribbon Partners
(606) 744-9564 (859) 744-5773
A support group for women affected by breast cancer. The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.
Winchester/Mt. Sterling, KY
Southern Acres Christian Church Breast Cancer Support Ministry
All breast cancer survivors are welcome.
Contact: Mary McKinley
St. Elizabeth Women’s Center
The Dr. Carol Kramer Women’s Survivor and Support Group
(859) 219-0772 ext.272
This group provides information and support for women diagnosed with cancer. Meetings focus on educating members about cancer, treatments, and aftercare. Each meeting offers a topic and speaker, with ample time left for Q & A. The primary purpose of this group is to provide mutual support for one another in the recovery process. New members are welcome! A light lunch is provided. Please RSVP each month.
2365 Harrodsburg Rd., Suite B100
Contact: Terri Mollineaux
The Tuesday Group
Central Baptist Hospital offers The Tuesday Group, a free support group for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and survivors. The group offers women with breast cancer the opportunity to share their experiences. A light lunch is provided. The Tuesday Group meets the fourth Tuesday of every month except December from noon until 1:30 p.m.
For women affected by breast cancer. Meets the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.
Contact: Carolyn Durham