Colorectal cancer and its treatment can affect how you feel about your body. It is normal to feel anger, frustration, or disappointment after surgery or during treatment for cancer.
Problems you may have include:
Some of the changes in your body may be short-term, while others may last longer. You may not feel the same about your body or about your sexuality as you did before treatment. Many people find that these changes cause sexual problems.
Sexual problems can have physical or psychological causes. You may have less sexual pleasure. You may lose your desire to have sex. Depression or a feeling that your body has changed may cause or add to these feelings. People who do not have partners often stop dating altogether because they feel that a potential partner might reject them because of their history of cancer.
Talk to your doctor or nurse about these feelings rather than waiting for him or her to ask you. Your doctor can answer your questions and refer you to groups that can offer support and information. Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society or call 1-800-227-2345 to find a support group in your area. Talking with other people who have had similar feelings can be very helpful. Talking openly about your concerns with your partner may also help.
For more information about body changes and intimacy, read "Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment" from the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This booklet is available online at: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/life-after-treatment.
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