The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Posts by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN


Marloe Esch, RN, BSN, Oncology Certified Nurse, AASECT Certified Sexuality Counselor, and young adult cancer survivor, graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Nursing (Go Badgers!) in 2008. She enjoys educating both survivors and healthcare professionals on the topic of cancer and sexuality, and has presented for the Young Survival Coalition, the Oncology Nursing Society, and Planned Parenthood of WI, among others.  She holds a certificate from the Sexual Health Certificate Program through the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  An enthusiastic supporter of sexual health and wellness, she is making it her mission to bring sex into the survivorship spotlight.

Marloe works as a Breast Care Nurse Navigator in Milwaukee, WI.  She lives in the Bay View neighborhood her husband and their cat, Princess Leia, in a fixer-upper that has “a lot of potential.” When she’s not at work or supervising her husband’s house projects, you’re likely to find her reading, writing, running, playing guitar, or enjoying a cold beverage and contemplating life. She’s also fairly competent at crochet, which comes in handy during the cold, dark Wisconsin winters. Feel free to give her a shout out at and let her know what questions you’ve got about sex, intimacy, and cancer!

My Body, My Bestie

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN March 6, 2024

Where are you right now? On the couch? Lounging in bed? Lunch break? Cancer clinic waiting room?

No matter where you are or where you’re going, who’s there with you?

Oh yeah, your body.


A Way With Words

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN December 18, 2023

You never know what you’ll find out about yourself when you put it down in writing; you can learn so much. You can say things you wouldn’t dream of saying out loud. You can be frank with yourself in ways that you can’t be with your partner, your mother, your best friend. You can tell the truth.


Reconstruction: A Never-Ending Story

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN November 30, 2023

My mastectomy scars started out as the midnight blue of my surgeon’s pen, deftly scrawling the path of his scalpel on the white canvas of my chest. After he came, drew, and left, I found myself in front of the mirror over the sink of the pre-op bathroom, staring at the roadmap he’d sketched. I was met with an array of curved and straight lines; dictating symmetry, outlining what would be kept and not kept, and measuring how long, how wide, and how far down.


Dude, Where’s My Erection? Part III

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN September 27, 2023

We’ve made it to the final installment of this series! Part I highlighted how and why erection problems can occur after cancer, and Part II outlined some of the pharmacological options available to help improve erectile function for cancer survivors. However, not all erection issues require a prescription, and not all penises respond well to medicines. 


Dude, Where’s My Erection? (Part II)

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN July 12, 2023

Welcome to Part II of a three-part conversation exploring the cancer and erection connection (turns out, there was so much good stuff to share that I had to extend the series!). As we dug into the nitty gritty of what erections actually are and how they work back in Part I, it became clear that there are several steps in the process that are vulnerable to the impacts of cancer and its treatments. Next on the agenda is what to do about it!


Dude, Where’s My Erection? Part I

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN March 7, 2023

Warning: Mature Content

One of the most common sexual problems that survivors with penises experience are changes with erections (6,10). Unfortunately, erections don’t get a lot of air time during clinic conversations. For one thing, sexual side effects of treatments sometimes don’t show up right away, and over time survivorship concerns may no longer be on a provider’s radar (though they should be!).


Orgasms After Cancer: Part II

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN November 22, 2022

Welcome to Part II of “Orgasms After Cancer!” In case you missed Part I, head back to the March 2022 issue of Elephants and Tea for a quick peek; it will be helpful as we move on to Part II. After all, the more you know about how things work, the more likely you are to discover what works for you. Sit tight, because things are about to get stimulating!


Orgasms After Cancer: Part I

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN November 2, 2022

Understanding the “O” in “OMG!”

As if all the other side effects from cancer treatment aren’t bad enough, survivors can also experience frustrating changes in their sex lives, including newly altered (or absent!) orgasms. Why does this happen, and what can be done?


“E” is for Emotional Intimacy

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN September 29, 2022

Cancer has a way of disrupting almost every aspect of a person’s life, including sex. If you’re like most young survivors, you may be struggling with a number of things that can affect how sexual you feel, or whether or not you’re interested in or able to engage in sexual activity. This is totally normal. Sometimes, though, altered sexual routines can also impact a couple’s emotional closeness. If you are in a romantic relationship, it’s important to remember that there are lots of ways to share intimacy that don’t include sex.


The Who’s Who of Sexual Health in Survivorship

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN April 22, 2022

Building a Sexual Wellness Recovery Team. Changes in sex, intimacy, and relationships are common after cancer.  But if you are experiencing an issue, it can feel pretty lonely, and you may not know who to ask for help. Your primary care or oncology care teams are always a good place to start.