Cancer survivors and dating

Attending a support group that offers them the opportunity to share their experiences with others in a similar situation can offer validation that they are not alone.

Some patients may have different reactions, views, and experiences with dating after a cancer diagnosis, but communication and understanding are important starting points in ensuring patients receive the support they need.

It is also touching, affection, and closeness with someone, not just physically but emotionally as well.

The effects of cancer and treatments can also negatively impact a patient's body image and may lead some to feel self-conscious.

Whether in a new or long-standing relationship, encourage patients to be open to these differences.

The same can be said for those not in relationships and are looking to begin dating.Some patients may benefit from preparing — writing down what they would like to say or even practicing with a friend can help relieve some of their anxiety.Before sharing, encourage patients to consider what would make them feel most comfortable. Doing so can help build trust and is the foundation of a lasting relationship.Along with these challenges are a seemingly endless trail of thoughts and questions: When will I feel ready to start dating again? But no matter where a person is in their cancer journey, whether they have a new diagnosis, are in active treatment, or are posttreatment survivors, to have fears and concerns about dating and sexual intimacy is normal.Empowering these patients to build upon their strengths so as not to let these fears adversely affect their current relationships or prevent them from pursuing future relationships can play a huge role in the healing process.

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