Restoration After Breast Cancer

Dr. Kelly Anne McCullagh
Medical Colleagues of Texas

Once having completed treatment for breast cancer, many survivors often feel an initial rush of relief. No more poking and prodding from chemotherapy IVs, no more endless blood tests, no more endless waiting in exam rooms. Many women find themselves left alone after finishing treatment without the knowledge or support about how to get back to a normal life.

This is why I am a passionate advocate for the continued support for breast cancer survivors post treatment, and my passion for breast cancer survivors stems from personal experience. I have witnessed firsthand women undergoing extensive chemotherapy and radiation only to experience long-term residual effects of breast cancer treatments on their relationships. No one ever talks about the difficulties after treatment. With intimacy now difficult and painful, survivors may find their romantic relationships strained or unfulfilling. Despite being cancer-free, these long term effects of their treatment are a frequent reminder.

After breast cancer, most women experience new changes in their bodies, many of which don’t make for easy conversation, especially concerning the state of one’s vaginal health. Breast cancer treatment often involves a medically induced menopause. Characterized by low levels of estrogen, menopause causes vaginal atrophy. Atrophic vaginal tissue is thin and without elasticity resulting in dryness and pain. Vaginal dryness can lead to other uncomfortable issues, such as general vaginal irritation or pain during intercourse. Breast cancer survivors may also experience weakened bladder control, especially when laughing, sneezing or exercising. While all women eventually experience various menopausal symptoms through aging, breast cancer survivors often experience menopause earlier and with amplified symptoms.

Traditionally, the menopausal symptoms are alleviated with estrogen-based treatments. Breast cancer survivors often find themselves unwilling to risk hormone treatments due to their medical history.  With a number of women struggling to return to their normal lives after treatment, the FemiLift vaginal laser can be excellent solution. FemiLift is a non-surgical and safe alternative for breast cancer survivors that restores vaginal tissue through a carbon dioxide laser. The laser triggers a natural healing response and results in increased lubrication and tightening, which remedies the issues of painful intercourse and urine leakage. The Femilift procedure is making a positive impact in survivors’ lives.

Medical Colleagues of Texas hosts informational seminars available to discuss issues and advances in women’s health and to empower women not to settle for changes that reduce their self-esteem or anchor themselves to their age, but instead, to empower them to know that there are options. While primarily informational, these seminars also offer a space where women can share their own stories, experiences and continue healing.