“I’m sorry, you have cancer.” Those five words changed my life.

After being diagnosed with anal cancer in 2008, Erin Sullivan-Wagner was not prepared to experience long-lasting sexual health side effects from her cancer treatment. While the treatment successfully eliminated Erin’s tumor and her prognosis for survival was good, her sexual and intimate relationship with her husband was forever changed. With no warning from her care team and no immediate referral for evaluation, her issues were permanent. Erin made a life-long commitment to help cancer patients and provide the support she never received. Following her life coach training and through conversations with patients, she learned how common sexual health issues are and “how seldom they are addressed by their care teams. As a cancer survivor, Erin is committed to helping others redefine intimacy for themselves and in their relationships.
Erin Sullivan Wagner

Erin’s Story

In preparation for the cancer treatments, Erin’s medical team reviewed potential side effects with her. They said the treatment would burn her skin, make her sick, and cause pain. However, they did not mention any long-term side effects. Though sexual dysfunction was listed as a possible side effect of the radiation, doctors assured her that it wouldn’t be a problem because she was young, healthy, and sexually active.

Her treatment left her with long-term sexual dysfunction she wasn’t prepared for. Her side effects included vaginal atrophy and the drying, thinning, shortening, and scarring of the vaginal tissues. Because these side effects were not addressed until 5 months after cancer treatment, penetrative sex would never be possible.

Though her sexual health was negatively impacted, surviving cancer provided Erin with an opportunity to advocate for patients, by raising awareness and educating the oncology community on how to address sexual health side effects as a standard of care after the diagnosis. By sharing her personal journey, she is reducing the stigma related to discussing sexual health in a cancer care setting.

Education, Advocacy, and action

Unifying the Community

As a non-profit organization, After Cancer’s significant impact on the oncology community wouldn’t be possible without its support from donors and grants. After Cancer provides evidence-based education and training required to close the communication gap between providers and patients. After Cancer’s programs are raising awareness, and increasing the knowledge and confidence to normalize the conversation and address sexual health side effects with patients.

after cancer unifying the community

Resolving the communication gap

Let’s Talk About It

The most difficult part of having a sexual health conversation is initiating it. Become a sexual health champion for your patient, schedule a workshop, develop your 30-Second Message, and learn to normalize the conversation related to sexual health. You will positively impact the life of your patient every time you do. After Cancer has online and in person workshops, as well as an online Sexual Health Specialist accredited course for Advanced Practice Providers. After Cancer also offers a wide range of customized public speaking services. Invite Erin to speak at your next conference or get a customized proposal to eliminate the disparity related to sexual health at your facility.

Committed to Patient Care

Board Member

Dr. Laila Agrawal

Dr. Laila Agrawal is a board-certified medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer and has a sexual health clinic for women diagnosed with cancer at Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. She graduated from medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine. She did her internship and residency training at Barnes Jewish Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis. She completed her hematology and oncology fellowship at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She is a fellow of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health and is on the board of directors of the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer.

Twitter: @lailaagrawalmd
Instagram: @drlailaagrawal
TikTok: @drlailaagrawal

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Board Member

Lauren Broschak

Lauren Broschak is an oncology-certified, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializing in sexuality, young adults, and cancer. She received her master’s degree in social work, as well as certificates in sex therapy and sexuality education from the University of Michigan. Lauren works as an oncology therapist and program manager at Inova Life with Cancer in Northern Virginia. In these roles she has led an interdisciplinary team which developed and launched a Survivorship Clinic and survivorship programming at Inova Schar Cancer Institute, offers individual counseling, facilitates support groups, and instructs educational classes for those touched by cancer. She is a co-author of the chapter Intimacy and Sexuality Needs of Children and Adolescents at the End of Life in the book Intimacy and Sexuality During Illness and Loss, published by Hospice Foundation of America in 2020. Lauren has been invited to present on sexuality and cancer for organizations around the country, serves as a Co-Chair for the AOSW Adolescent and Young Adult Special Interest Group, and is honored to be on the Board of Directors for After Cancer.

Sexuality is part of life that everyone experiences in their own unique way, which is often impacted by a cancer diagnosis/treatment and greatly affects quality of life. Yet, sexual health continues to be an issue that is under-addressed in oncology. I am honored to be a part of an initiative working to improve this gap in care and increase the knowledge, comfort, and communication of our oncology providers.

Contact me at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-broschak-886267286.

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Board Member

Seanne Falconer

Seanne Falconer is an academic healthcare executive with deep experience in organizational growth and strategic planning for non-profit organizations.

She serves as the executive administrator of the Tulane Cancer Center, an emerging NCI center, translating research discoveries into improved outcomes and reducing cancer burden on the people of New Orleans and beyond. Her role encompasses oversight for basic, translational, clinical, and population science research. Additionally, she is the principal of Falconer Consulting, a boutique advisory firm specializing in non-profit organizational strategy and growth.

Before joining Tulane, Seanne was the Executive Director for Administration of the NCI-designated comprehensive University of California, San Diego – Moores Cancer Center. Prior to that role, she served as the Executive Director and Associate Director for Administration at the NCI-designated comprehensive University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center.

She began her career in academic healthcare at Harvard Medical School as the Chief of Staff of the Harvard Catalyst | The Harvard Clinical & Translational Science Center and then as the Director of Harvard Catalyst Clinical Research Center Operations. Prior to her career in academic healthcare, she gained experience in accounting and corporate finance with General Mills in Minneapolis, MN.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, with dual majors in accounting and human resources management, a Master of Business Administration from the Yale School of Management, with a concentration in nonprofit management, and a Master of Science in Health Sciences with a focus on clinical operations and healthcare management from The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Contact me at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seannefalconer/

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Board Member

Cindy Lyness

Cindy Lyness worked in the executive recruiting world for 35 years as the owner of Management Recruiters of Cedar Rapids. Her firm was recognized as a top 10 franchisee for many years and excelled in the financial services and commercial construction sectors.

Cindy has been part of After Cancer from the very beginning, consulting on business strategies to drive sustainability, as well as scaling and transforming the offerings of After Cancer.

Watching Erin through her own cancer journey and the subsequent challenges she faces, as a result of her treatment, has motivated me to play whatever role necessary to bring Erin’s vision to life. Teaching cancer providers to normalize these important conversations with their patients is key to their quality of life and After Cancer provides many of the tools to do just that. I could not be prouder to be by Erin’s side as she continues to transform the topic of sexual health in the oncology sector.

Our end goal is that all facilities treating patients impacted by cancer address sexual health as part of their cancer care. No patient should have to navigate sexual health side effects without anticipatory guidance and support.

Contact me at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cindylyness/

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Board Member

Dr. Amy Pearlman

Dr Amy Pearlman is a board-certified urologist, specializes in men’s health, particularly focusing on male sexual health, hormonal health, and genital health. Her fervent dedication lies in educating and treating men across the spectrum of cancer diagnosis, aiming not only to minimize side effects but also to optimize sexual well-being.
Having earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Pearlman pursued her urology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. She further honed her expertise through a fellowship at Wake Forest, solidifying her commitment to enhancing men’s health outcomes.

Dr. Pearlman served as the director of the men’s health program at the University of Iowa for nearly five years, during which time she began working with the After Cancer team. She then embarked on a new chapter by co-founding Prime Institute in South Florida alongside her twin sister. Her multifaceted approach to patient care emphasizes evidence-based, engaging, and innovative strategies.

Passionate about empowering individuals through education and support, Dr. Pearlman is honored to serve on the After Cancer board. She firmly believes that everyone undergoing cancer care deserves comprehensive resources to thrive, including optimal sexual health.

Contact me at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-pearlman-54a2b0208/

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