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Cancer & Intimacy: Laser therapy helps reduce atrophy & pain

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local wife and mother had encouraging news for women surviving breast cancer.

Mary Lou McClure said a new treatment helped her overcome a common side effect from treatment. A part of her life, the intimacy, can often can be painful after cancer treatment especially when hormone therapy was not an option. The wife and mother was at the Women's Center at Mercy Health West and talked about a treatment now being used for a whole new purpose.

Following successful treatment for breast cancer, she suddenly couldn't continue a therapy that might put her at odds for that cancer coming back.

McClure shared, "My doctor and I decided that estrogen therapy was risky."

So she wasn't sure what to do about some of the painful side effects that followed, especially something called vaginal atrophy.

Dr. Elizabeth Venard of Mercy Health West Hospital said, "It causes people to have vaginal dryness, painful intercourse."

So McClure made the decision to try and overcome those symptoms with the help of a simple ten minute office procedure. It uses a laser called the Mona Lisa Touch. The procedure simply attaches one of two sterile probes to the Mona Lisa Touch laser. The machine is then put on standby for pre-programmed settings. Once that's completed, everybody in the room puts on face protection and laser eye protection. Then the vaginal probe is placed in the body and it restores health to the vaginal tissues.

For McClure the difference she felt with intimacy she said, "It was immediate. It was literally immediate."

She's now living life the way she wanted to with family and friends and with healthy intimacy back in her marriage."

There don't appear to be any serious side effects from the treatment but each treatment is about $600. Women may need up to three treatments. In most cases it is not covered by medical insurance plans.

Local 12 News would like to thank Mary Lou for sharing a tough topic that is important to many young survivors.

CLICK HERE a link to more information about the therapy.

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