Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women. Skin cancer is the first. A woman in the United States has a 12% chance of developing breast cancer sometime in her life. This means there is a 1 in 8 chance that she will develop breast cancer.
In 2017, The American Cancer Society estimates the following for breast cancer in the United States:
- About 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
- An estimated 63,410 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
- 40,610 women are expected to die from breast cancer.
That is so depressing. Isn’t it? But then wait. According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States as of 2017. This includes women still getting treatment and those who have completed therapy. And globally, there are an estimated 9.3 million breast cancer survivors. Yeah for that!
The emotional aspects of dealing with breast cancer can be overwhelming. But so much of how we feel emotionally may have to do with our physical wellbeing. As a survivor, you must learn to be comfortable with your body during and after breast cancer treatment.
One of the sensitive issues many don’t talk about has to do with a woman’s sexuality after breast cancer. Physical changes especially after breast surgery, can be difficult to deal with. A woman’s hair loss may affect her in more than just the looks. Fortunately, the hair comes back and breast reconstructive surgery may remedy the appearance of the breasts.
But… there are some things we don’t talk about. One of which is vaginal dryness and vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA). Chemotherapy and radiation often change your hormone levels and may affect your vaginal health. Following breast cancer you should not generally use hormones. Treatment of VVA remains unresolved. Your doctor may prescribe Low-dose vaginal estrogen, which you may partially absorb into the blood. This can potentially stimulate breast cancer cells. And that is the last thing you need after all that you have gone through. FDA has approved DHEA vaginal inserts and oral ospemiphene to treat dyspareunia (painful sex). However, safety after breast cancer has not been established. Vaginal laser therapy is another option some are using for VVA but not proven to work.
That brings us to the usage of vaginal moisturizers. You can use a vaginal moisturizer to restore moisture in the vagina. It is vital to help bring your vaginal tissue to health after chemotherapy and radiation. Some of the best ingredients in a good vaginal moisturizer are Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, Lavender Oil, Shae Butter and Coconut Oil. These components can have wonderful soothing benefits to a sensitive area that has been damaged by harsh chemicals and lack of hormones.
What is in a vaginal moisturizer is important but what is not in it is also of equal importance. Here is a list of some of the things you want to avoid in a vaginal moisturizer:
- Synthetic Dyes and Coloring
- Propylene Glycol
Read labels carefully and when in doubt, ask the manufacturer. A company that cares about your health and wellbeing will be glad to talk to you about your concerns and help you through an overall uncomfortable situation. For more information, you can contact companies such as Bring On The Magic LLC who specialize in all natural vaginal moisturizers that contain mostly organic ingredients.