How To Feel Sexy After Surviving Breast Cancer

Returning to intimacy after surviving any form of cancer is important. According to a study in October 2014, female cancer survivors experience sexual dysfunction post treatment. This stems from body image issues and the fear that their loved ones will no longer find them attractive in their new body. They stress about weight loss, hair loss, lopsided breasts from reconstruction, lack of nipples, and much more.

If you are feeling this way, it’s nice to know that you are not alone. But through time and a little effort, you can restore intimacy and learn to love yourself again.

Here are some ways that you can start to feel sexy:

1. A lingerie shopping spree! A good high-quality piece of lingerie that extenuates all the right places can make you forget the scars or misshapen breasts and make you feel like a strong confident woman. There are several post mastectomy bras available online.

2. Try some blindfold play in the bed room! Blindfold your partner and let them explore your body with just their lips. You’ll never know what new areas of your body will stimulate your senses.

3. Lap dance! Dancing increases blood flow and can help tone muscles.

While these tips are fine for making you feel sensual again, the true way to feel sexy is to love yourself. Take for instance, this woman’s inspiring story:

History Of The Mammography

Happy 40th birthday! The big 4-0 is a big milestone to reach, and you should be proud of yourself. But 40 is also an important time in your life in regard to medical checkups, especially for mammograms. Some of you may be wondering how mammograms came about and what improvements have been made to them over the years.

In the 1960s, radiologists performed mammography exams using general purpose X-ray tubes, without compression. They captured the imaging onto direct-exposure films, similar to chest X-rays. These were low-contrast images and the area of tissue close to the chest wall appeared “white” due to underexposure.

A decade later, mammography advanced significantly with the introduction of screen-film mammography, which made imaging faster, required lower radiation dose, and provided greater contrast, making it easier to “see through” breast tissues. Improvements in screen-film technology and the establishment of dedicated mammography units during the 1980s and 1990s improved mammography even more.

As the technology improved, mammography screenings became more common due to two factors. First, the results of multiple randomized and controlled trials demonstrated the effectiveness of mammographies in lowering breast cancer mortality rates. Second, the development of effective pre-operative image-guided wire localization techniques made it easier to make tissue diagnosis for suspicious lesions detected by mammograms.

The 90’s saw an uptick in mammography use, resulting in an increase in mammography regulations as well. As the exam became widely used and breast cancer received more publicity, concerns about mammography quality grew. After uncovering various quality issues, a series of Congressional hearings were dedicated to mammography, leading to the Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992, forcing uniform standards nationwide, affecting the quality of breast imaging as well as the standards that radiologists must comply with.

Around 2000, breast imaging experienced another significant advancement with the introduction of digital mammography. While digital mammography procedures are essentially the same as X-ray mammographies from the patient’s point of view, the new digital mammography machines produce images that can be read on computers rather than X-ray film, which has improved oncologist’s ability to identify symptoms, give diagnoses, and treat their patients.

As expected, most radiology practices in the U.S. now use digital mammography rather than analog film, as it provides better images with improved tissue contrast. This is important for patients with dense breast tissue, especially younger patients, who tend to have denser breasts than older patients. Digital mammography is also beneficial compared to more traditional mammographies as the patient receives less radiation exposure.

Moving forward, digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is an emerging technology that captures multiple low-dose mammographic images of the breasts. DBT has been shown to reduce false-positives and improve detection of invasive cancers. Hence, DBT has been called “a better mammogram” and will likely become the standard for mammographic screening.

Mammography has come a long way from its humble beginnings of direct-exposure films. Breast imaging radiologists now have more tools in their arsenal than ever before. As additional technological innovations are achieved, mammography is expected to remain a critical part of early detection efforts.

Early detection remains critical to reducing mortality. Mammography remains the most effective and cost-effective tool for detecting breast cancer and we recommend annual mammography screening beginning at age 40.

The History of Breast Cancer

Despite what people may think, Breast Cancer has been around since ancient times and is not “a modern disease”. But the empowerment movement behind breast cancer survivors is a recent phenomenon. Unlike other cancers, cancers tumors found in the breasts are very visible. Many women, were embarrassed by it and were afraid to come forward with their illness. Now, we stand together as women and support research and overcoming this terrible disease.

Breast Cancer In Ancient Egypt and Greece

About 3,500 years ago, Ancient Egyptians indicated that there were bulging tumors of the breast for which there was no cure.

In 460 B.C, Hippocrates (for which doctor’s Hippocratic Oath is named), the Ancient Greek, made note of breast cancer as a “humoral disease.” Hippocrates believed that the body contained 4 humors – blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Cancer was caused by too much black bile. Hippocrates came to this conclusion because when breast cancer tumors are left untreated they break through the skin releasing black fluid.

In AD 200, another Ancient Greek, Galen described cancer as well. He also believed that cancer was caused by black bile but noted that some tumors were more dangerous than others.

Breast Cancer in 17th and 18th Century

Galen was the leading physician on Breast Cancer until about the late 1600s. Francois de la Boe Sylvius challenged the reigning theory that black vile was the cause of cancer saying it was the fluid in the lymphatic system changing from acidic to acrid. Claude-Deshais Gendron also rejected the black vile theory and proposed that cancer was caused when nerve and glandular tissue mixed with lymph vessels.

One interesting theory presented in 1713 by Bernardino Ramazzini was the lack of sex caused breast cancer due to the high-frequency of women in the nunnery developing breast cancer. He believed that without regular sexual activity the sex organs develop cancer. Other interesting theories include curdled milk, puss inflammations, mental disorders, and not having children.

Finally, in 1757, Henri Le Dran removed the first breast cancer tumor. This became the standard treatment of breast cancer up until the 20th century.

Breast Cancer in the 19th and 20th Century

The development of antiseptic, anesthesia and blood transfusion allowed surgical removal of breast cancer to be performed. William Halstead of New York made breast surgery the gold standard for almost 100 years. He developed the mastectomy – a procedure that removed the breast, nodes in the armpits and chest muscles – which would hopefully prevent cancer from spreading.

In 1895, a Scottish surgeon George Beaston noticed that removing ovaries shrank a patient’s breast cancer. Soon women were having their breasts and ovaries removed. The theory was that estrogen was causing breast cancer. Soon women were having their adrenal gland and pituitary gland removed as well to help stop the production of “cancer-causing” estrogen.

Development Of The Systemic Theory

In 1955, George Crile suggested that cancer was not a localized disease and in fact spread throughout the body. Soon breast cancer was being treated with radiation or chemotherapy rather than being treated with mastectomies. Since then there have been several modern technological breakthroughs such as the development of mammograms, discovering of breast cancer causing genes and hormone treatments.

Grassroots Efforts to Promote Breast Cancer Research

We would one day like to live in a world where breast cancer is an afterthought. Until that day comes, there are many ways that you can do your part to fight this terrible disease which has taken from us mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, wives and other loved ones. One of the easiest things that you can do is participate in a local walk-a-thon or short race. Just realizing that you and your family are not alone in fighting cancer can be monumental for some. Of course, raising money for breast cancer research is critical to fighting the disease, but make sure that you do your own research into the charities that you chose to donate to. If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, check out this great video of UMass students and faculty doing their part to spread awareness about products with cancer-causing agents in them. Great job guys!