I had a mastectomy : You still going with me?

After the trauma of mastectomy surgery following cancer, many patients cope with another crisis: the pull from a decline - the couple, body image is deteriorating, and plenty of fears, stereotypes and prejudices just irritating. Special survey conducted for the association "one of nine" reveals the extent of the phenomenon Hmatzibim.


Mali had for years (real name kept confidential) to hide her chest with a sexual relationship with her husband. For years he refused her loving husband, father of two children, see the severed breast removed because of breast cancer of his wife, and touch it. Lee says she wanted him to, he settles down, he gets, but he could not bear to look menacing, the unknowable, preferring to love his wife as she covers her upper body with a towel. "This went on for years," says Mally, "until one day I said 'enough' and just like that just took off the towel. He said nothing, just turned his head away, and in time probably used". Today, she says, 12 years after mastectomy, and her husband touching her chest naturally. Today, he will not hear about breast reconstruction.


Survey: 50% of respondents believe that the amputated breast do not attract

Institute recently conducted a survey "Geocartography" for organization "one of nine" for women victims of breast cancer, finds that half of the public in Israel thinks that women who underwent mastectomy are sexually attractive and sexually performing injured. Percentage of men who think so, predictably perhaps, double the percentage of women. Young singles rate it very high opinion.

The survey was conducted through a telephone survey among 500 respondents, men and women, constituting a representative national sample of adult population in the Jewish settlements in the country.

The first series of questions, respondents were asked for their opinion regarding the sexual feeling of women undergoing mastectomy. After - then were asked to say what they themselves think about their sexuality of women undergoing the procedure.

The first series of questions that 58 percent of participants responded that they thought breast amputated women feel less sexually attractive. Thirds of respondents, we should note, noted no say in the matter. At "one of nine" attribute this fact to be afraid of cancer and the social silence around the disease. The second series of questions that 43 percent of respondents answered that they women after mastectomy are less sexually attractive. 49 percent of respondents also claimed that in their opinion, these women were Btifkodn sex. This question, incidentally, 38 percent of respondents preferred not to express an opinion.

Lee, now 60, mother of two and grandmother of three grandchildren, living in constant fear of breast cancer by age 48, then discovered her tumor. Age 36, then her mother became ill illness, care for the manual inspection of the breasts by a specialist every three months and a mammogram every year. Somehow, despite the tests, and despite the concerns, the cancer appeared when he was already advanced, the size of six inches. "I myself have a large block and went to do a biopsy, knowing that it is", she says. "When you 'wait' disease all - so many years, and see around you all - so many cases, this type of self-fulfilling prophecy."

Can not walk around in bikinis

Despite the memory of the hard look of her mother's severed breast, Mali immediately asked to cut down everything. "Look at my mother was awful, and I'm sure it will look the same with me, but I thought more important to stay alive," she says. All - it was enough to ask, before falling asleep on the operating table, allowing skin to leave her recovery. "As soon as I got up from the surgery I looked at myself and said 'Wow, pretty, pretty full compared to my mother.'s All relative.

"I can understand women mourn at the breast, though I did not feel but, just glad I saved his life. But I can understand the difficulty, the recoil, since breasts are a symbol of female sexuality, especially for men. Could be his was young, I was very unhappy, but at 48 was a simple deal more, had a son - a couple I knew who loved me, not to leave or betray, despite the recoil ".

Mali shows that even today, no one breast, men "have turned to" her. But in the workplace do not know until today about the illness and the surgery and is pained by the fact that she can not walk on the beach in a bikini. "On the one hand, I say it's really not so bad, the missing piece of a pound. On the other hand, every year in summer I decide to do a restore, go to plastic surgeon and then panicked. If I knew reconstruction in 80 percent sure, today I would do it".

Mastectomy to remove the evil from

Aviva (real name kept confidential), 54, discovered the tumor in three years and a half after her husband died of cancer. Fault, she says, was great. Mass was relatively small field, was discovered at an early stage, and therefore offered her doctors "make do" with radiation. "I preferred to go on a mastectomy," says Aviva, "wanting to get out of me the 'bad part'. I was at peace with the decision, I decided to connect to my health, to live and do whatever I could to know that I have treated myself. God is not what made me a woman , and his loss did not turn me no - a woman. To me, I bought that peace of mind, that's what matters. "

After two years without a breast, and after she chose preventive mastectomy of her womb and ovaries, Aviva realized she did not need breast reconstruction. "I realized I was not limited, as usual I'm doing sports, dancing, walking, turning in front of the children also free, so why should I have surgery that involve various risks?".

Aviva shows her chest for anyone who seeks, especially women who are conversing with her following a request to the hot line operated by "one of nine". "It's not disgusting or scary and intriguing, so I look for those who want", says Aviva, "then it's mine it, and I love me". With this approach, it is difficult to understand the grim findings of a survey conducted by the association. "I accept that not everyone thinks like me, but a shame to me that - so much energy is led to the negative image that, instead of recovery. I live a whole, full, and my head works in the section of" I and my health 'and' I and breast Missing My . So, maybe, even if someone insulted me in that, intentionally or not, though - once I was not offended. I chose not to take things I'm not responsible for them and this is my protection. "

LED Tolnai, CEO "of the nine", breast cancer 12 years ago and subsequently decided to establish a personal experience to the association, which is a female support network now quite broad. Nurit having trouble understanding, on an emotional level, the negative social image of women cancer survivors breast, as expressed in survey results.

"One of the key difficulties in this area is dealing with the conspiracy of silence, arising from the threat this illness is, the fear of it, the fact that women themselves, not all, of course, ashamed of it, cover. Some of them are not ready to deal with the possibility of giving up breast reconstruction. It is not outrageous, it's just sad, that our social readiness to connect to it. discourse should be large and open, because only if we talk more, this cancer scare less ".

Indeed, another finding in the survey shows that half of the public know of women who have had amputation - a demon. Exposure to these women substantially affects referring to them. According to the survey, 49 percent of people who know women who underwent mastectomy, do not believe that breast cancer victims are sexually attractive, compared with 32 percent of the people who are unfamiliar with such women.

Tolnai herself admits that in spite of professional involvement, despite the vast experience acquired from years of tinkering about, and assistance to other women and independent work, she is still afraid of being without a nose to expose the breast at beginning of relationships with men. "The reactions may be offensive, if it's not an everyday thing. I know now that everyone who saw me on TV watching instantly on the chest, trying to figure out if there is a demon or not. And it was there, my fear, when I know somebody, waver when to say. if at all. "