Sexual health is a state of physical and mental/emotional well-being that is fundamental for every individual. When people are faced with cancer and cancer treatments, their sexual lives can change and thereby have a heavy impact on their quality of life, resilience, and distress. Talking about sexuality is taboo in the relationships between patients and healthcare professionals. In general, there is no way of knowing if patients have full and happy sex lives that are helping them cope with their disease, or on the contrary, if they have set aside all sexual contact and put their need for closeness, intimacy, attention, and pleasure on hold. This lack of discussion is not conducive to the support that healthcare professionals would like to offer their patients.
This project involves two teams, one specializing in sexuality and the other in cancer, and is intended to lift taboos by bringing to light patients’ expectations and healthcare professionals’ difficulties in approaching these issues. Over the course of a year, a sexual psychologist speaks with 50 patients and their loved ones to become familiar with their positions and expectations and to evaluate their desires. At the same time, 50 healthcare professionals from the HUG Oncology Center are contacted to get their input as well and to evaluate their training needs. Based on these evaluations, an appropriate training program is implemented for the healthcare professionals.
Dr. Marie-Laure Amram, Oncology Division, Oncology Department, Geneva University Hospitals.
Dr. Francesco Bianchi-Demicheli, Obstetrics Division, Gynecology and Obstetrics Department, Geneva University Hospitals