In 2011, the patient first noticed a small lump in one of her breasts, but didn’t think too much of it. However, after a routine investigation, she was given the diagnosis of Stage 1 breast cancer at the age of 47, which was devastating for her. She underwent treatment at London Bridge Hospital to remove the lump, followed by chemotherapy and then radiotherapy. The patient decided to undergo all treatment at London Bridge Hospital; initially surgery to remove the lump, followed by chemotherapy and then radiotherapy. Unfortunately, the treatment brought on the menopause which affected her very intensely as, due to the different drugs, all the symptoms came on at once. Before her diagnosis, the patient had been a keen runner and led an active and healthy lifestyle. However, due to the menopause her joints became too painful to continue running, something which affected her body con¬fidence. The onset of the menopause also took away her libido. As the cancer was not hormone-related in her case, it meant she was eligible for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which she believes saved her life. Having started HRT, the unwelcome symptoms associated with the menopause receded.
The patient was still sexually active and her sex life was important to her – this made her feel very alone in dealing with her illness. For most of her treatment, the patient did not mention how she was feeling, but during her last chemotherapy session, she happened to mention this to one of the nurses. She was given Emma Waring’s card, Psychosexual Nurse Therapist. She commented on contacting the Psychosexual Nurse Therapist, “it was the best thing for me - it really helped me to move on.” Although she feels pretty much back to normal, she admits there are still days when she feels shaky. While she manages to cope with these feelings, she feels it is really helpful to know Emma is there should she need additional top-up sessions. Now cancer-free, the patient understands the importance for breast cancer sufferers to know that this sort of service is available to them. She explains, “your sex life is hit tremendously because of what happens to you, and your body image. It completely throws you, everything stops. People in marriages have a different sort of relationship but being single, my relationships weren’t that close so it was a very different situation.”
For more information on our Psychosexual Counselling Service, please contact Psychosexual Counselling Coordinator, Rob Walker, on T: 020 7357 6466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org