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Cancer care has improved over the last couple of years and so has survivorship. Many types of cancer have evolved from an acute to a chronic disease because diagnosis equipment has improved and treatment options are varied and targeted. However, surgical and oncological treatments can have a negative effect on the quality of life of patients and their loved ones. One of the factors that can be effected is sexuality and intimacy. In fact, research suggests that 35 to 50% of cancer survivors may face sexual problems.

Sexual and intimacy difficulties are present among the majority of oncology patients especially those facing gynaecological and urological cancers. However, patients report that very little information and professional attention is given to the aspect of sexual health after being diagnosed and treated for cancer. This can impact adversely the patients’ quality of life and relationships. (Reisman & Gianotten, 2017).

In the second part of this write-up I would like to discuss the questions we would need to ask during the cancer diagnosis and treatment.

 

Anna Catania is a counsellor with Willingness. She has had a special interest in working with clients facing intimacy and sexual difficulties and runs a service for families going through cancer and chronic illness. She can be contacted on anna@willingness.com.mt