NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults - page 92

92
NCCN Guidelines for Patients
®
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Version 2013
Part 8: Moving beyond treatment
When you do start dating, wait until you have a sense of
trust and connection with the other person before telling
him or her about your cancer. For more on sexual issues
during survivorship, see the American Cancer Society’s
Web pages on sexuality for the woman (
/
treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/
sexualsideeffectsinwomen/sexualityforthewoman/sexuality-
for-women-with-cancer-cancer-sex-sexuality) and man
(
/
physicalsideeffects/sexualsideeffectsinmen/
sexualityfortheman/sexuality-for-men-with-cancer-intro)
with cancer.
As discussed in Part 3, many cancer treatments damage
cells in the testicles and ovaries and can lead to problems
with fertility. In men, treatment-related infertility is often
temporary. Unfortunately that’s rarely the case with women.
In fact, women may develop premature ovarian failure
months, years, or even decades after treatment is over.
These uncertainties make it particularly important that you
get regular checkups to determine if you are still fertile,
and that you use birth control if you don’t want a child in
the near future. If you’re a woman and are still having
periods, you may want to ask your doctor whether the
treatment you received is associated with an increased
risk of delayed premature ovarian failure.
Coping with recurrence
Sometimes a few cancer cells manage to survive despite
everyone’s best efforts to destroy them. Over time,
these cells can divide and spread, leading to a return
(recurrence) of the cancer. Recurrences can happen in
the same place as the original cancer (local recurrence),
in the same general vicinity as the original cancer
(regional recurrence), or in a completely different part of
the body (distant recurrence or metastasis).
Recurrences are scary and frustrating but they aren’t
the end of the road. Advances in cancer treatment
have made it possible to cure many local and regional
recurrences, and even a distant recurrence can
sometimes be successfully treated or kept in check for
years. The exact treatment for the recurrence will be
based on the same factors that were considered after
your first diagnosis, including the availability of clinical
trials. (See Part 5.)
Finding out that your cancer has come back can really
pull the rug out from under you, and it’s natural to feel all
sorts of complicated emotions. As before, give yourself
permission to express your feelings and reach out for
For more on navigating life after treatment,
check out
The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: The
Essential Handbook to Life After Cancer
(New
York, NY: Marlowe & Company, 2006). Written
by psychologist and cancer survivor Michael
Feuerstein and social worker Patricia Findley,
The
Cancer Survivor’s Guide
offers 7 distinct steps
to help survivors chart the course of their post-
treatment life and answer their personal
“Now whats?”
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