Partner fears touching breasts after reconstruction?

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Question from cmanuel: Is it common that your husband/significant other will be "afraid" to touch your breasts after reconstruction? I had a bilateral mastectomy ten years ago and my husband now seems to think that anything above my waist is off limits.
Answers - Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. I think this can be a very common occurrence. Oftentimes both the patient and her significant other can have quite mixed feelings about reconstruction, and/or about lumpectomy or mastectomy sites without reconstruction. Learning one's body all over again can be a process that can take time. Talking to your partner about your own feelings and your perceptions of their feelings can be helpful and even therapeutic.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Coping With Your Changing Feelings and Relationships featured Lidia Schapira, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about facing your fears head-on, handling moodiness and depression, diffusing tension with your partner and feeling close without sexual activity, as well as issues of self-image and femininity.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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