Treatment Challenges Getting You Down? There’s Help!

Help for the breast cancer issues no one talks about.

By
Health Monitor Staff

When you have breast cancer, your plate is full just dealing with symptoms and side effects. But when you add other challenges, getting the care you need can seem downright daunting. Here's help for a few common but little-discussed hurdles.

Challenge

Solution

"My treatment is ruining my relationship!"

"My libido suffered during my first go-around with cancer, and it hasn't been the same since," says Deb. "It's really a problem. More treatment is only going to make things worse."

Reassure him and talk to your doctor.

Tell your partner something like, "I hope you know I love you as much as ever. But the symptoms I am feeling right now are making sex uncomfortable." Then talk to your doctor. If the problem persists, consider sex therapy, which is covered under many insurance plans.

"I can't handle the paperwork!"

It can be overwhelming. And insurance glitches can make things even worse. Take Penny: After receiving a big bill (in error) from her oncologist, she canceled two appointments for the bone drug shots she needed because she didn't want to "run up" her tab.

Go to therapy—and get help.

Ask a nurse navigator or social worker at your medical center for help. Or turn to the Patient Advocate Foundation, patientadvocate.org, for assistance. But whatever you do, don't interrupt your treatment. Staying on course is important for keeping your cancer in check.

"Going to chemo is a hassle!"

"I travel to New York City for my treatment. That's a long bus ride, plus an uncomfortable subway ride to the hospital," says Diane, 44. "While I'm there, I have to have a baby-sitter for my 5-year-old and make sure someone's there to meet my older son's school bus."

Ask about oral chemo.

Chemo doesn't always mean spending hours in an infusion suite. There are oral chemo medications you can take right at home, and they are just as effective as intravenous formulas. Ask your doctor if one is right for you.

Published
May 2013