Survivorship: Women’s Lives During and After Cancer
Survivorship is an important and growing area of cancer care. A survivor is defined as someone who is living with, through and beyond cancer. After treatment, women can often feel alone and lost after being surrounded by a team of experts during their battle. It is vital that women are aware of the changes they may experience following treatment and are educated on how to deal with those changes.
Possible side effects from cancer treatment may include:
- Nutrition concerns
- Fertility issues
- Sexual intimacy issues
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Menopausal symptoms
- Joint pain
Click here to learn more and support the Women’s Wellness and Survivorship Center.
Cancer and cancer treatment can also affect relationships, body image, psychosocial health and more. Many of these issues are at the core of a woman’s self-image and self-understanding. During the multi-phase journey of cancer treatment, women should focus on true wellness, defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing – not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. To help achieve true wellness, I believe women should have access to a daily program with the help of a physician that helps them cook and eat well, sleep well, meditate, exercise, have inner peace and maintain interpersonal relationships that are fulfilling.
Along with Drew and Brittany Brees and the Brees Dream Foundation, Ochsner is raising money for and awareness of the new Women’s Wellness and Survivorship Center which offers a survivorship program for women in need of specialized gynecologic care related to their cancer diagnosis or treatment. These may be young women who want to discuss preserving their fertility, women who find themselves unable to maintain intimacy with their partners, women suffering from side effects of cancer treatment or women facing abrupt, premature menopause as a result of their treatments.
The Women’s Wellness and Survivorship Center offers a variety of services including:
- Personalized menopausal and peri-menopausal management
- Genetic cancer screening and testing and referrals for management
- Cardiovascular disease risk assessment
- Sexual dysfunction treatment
- Bone health management
- Referrals for weight loss, stress reduction and pelvic floor physical therapy to address incontinence and sexual health issues
Because I have witnessed patients deal with these issues as survivors, I believe it is important to educate women and give them the right tools to take control of their health before, during and after cancer treatment.