Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
Living with vulvar cancer can be challenging. Although there are no easy answers for coping with vulvar cancer, the following suggestions may help:
- Learn enough about vulvar cancer to feel comfortable making treatment decisions. Ask your doctor to explain the basics of your cancer, such as what types of cells are involved and what stage is your cancer. Also ask your doctor or nurse to recommend good sources of information. Learn enough about your cancer so that you feel comfortable asking questions and discussing your treatment options with your doctor.
- Talk to someone about your feelings. When you feel ready, consider talking to someone you trust about your hopes and fears as you face cancer treatment. This might be a friend, a family member, your doctor, a social worker, a spiritual adviser or a counselor.
- Connect with other cancer survivors. You may find it helpful to talk to other people with vulvar cancer. They can tell you how they've coped with problems similar to the ones you're facing. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area. Or contact support organizations, such as the American Cancer Society or the Women's Cancer Network. Online message boards, such as those offered by the American Cancer Society's Cancer Survivors Network, can also connect you to other women with vulvar cancer.
- Don't be afraid of intimacy. Your natural reaction to changes in your body may be to avoid intimacy. Although it may not be easy, discuss your feelings with your partner. You may also find it helpful to talk to a therapist, either on your own or together with your partner. Remember that you can express your sexuality in many ways. Touching, holding, hugging and caressing may become far more important to you and your partner.
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