Dating or sexual intimacy during cancer recovery is a touchy subject for most recovering cancer patients. Many experience significant changes in their relationships during and after diagnosis and recovery. Patients report experiencing stress and tension in their relationships. The patient recovering from cancer therapy undergoes a wide range of emotional changes which makes maintaining relationships difficult. Many survivors are not comfortable with discussing the changes that have taken place in their bodies post-treatment. The treatment can leave cancer survivors with various side effects like loss of sexual desire, decreased libido and lack of interest. Many survivors may also be afraid of rejection.
The key to the problem is open communication. Cancer survivors must openly communicate to potential partners regarding their concerns. Open and effective communication ensures that a healthy relationship can occur. It has to be remembered that not every cancer survivor is built the same. While some may be more open to discussing the changes their bodies have undergone, others might not want to be so open. Counselling can be very effective in a situation like this. Trained and experienced counsellors can give patients a step-by-step way to help patients build up their self-image. Survivors can also join support groups as well. One of the major fears that survivors have to face is the fear of a relapse. Many survivors are unsure whether they should start dating again as the cancer may come back. Counsellors suggest that survivors who have physical problems with sexual intimacy should be upfront with their partners. All experts are in agreement that it is perfectly possible for cancer survivors to have perfectly healthy relationships. Thanks to the internet many patients who want to protect their identity can now find support groups online. Support groups online let survivors discuss their problems and give mutual support to one another.