Addressing concerns about sex and relationships; speak with a psychosexual therapist who is trained in helping people to adapt and manage the sexual consequences of cancer treatment.
A psychosexual therapist can help if:
You are an individual or a couple looking for a better understanding of the practical and up-to-date treatments for sexual rehabilitation including reduced sexual interest or sexual pain after cancer.
The support we give:
Perci psychosexual therapists are uniquely trained to help with the adaptation and management of sexual consequences due to cancer. They focus on building an open dialogue and safe environment to allow broad discussions, covering loss of sexual confidence, trust and intimacy within a relationship to working with physical changes due to treatment or surgery. Psychosexual counselling can also help with reduced sexual interest, arousal and erection difficulties, sexual pain and changes in ejaculation or orgasm.
What is psychosexual therapy?
Psychosexual therapy is a type of psychological therapy that focuses on three key elements contributing to sexual well-being:
- Physical sexual function
- Emotional response to sexual difficulties
- Partner or relationship response to sexual difficulties
Psychosexual therapy uses a combination of strategies to help individuals and couples to more fully understand what may be contributing to their sexual concern or difficulty.
This can include sexual health information and education, advice and support in the use of medical treatments and different psychological and behavioural strategies that can enhance sexual expression.
The aim of this therapy is to offer an individualised approach to helping the person or couple to effectively manage physical barriers to sexual expression, to enhance sexual confidence, understand their optimal conditions for good sex and to support helpful couple negotiation and discussion about this aspect of their lives.
How can psychosexual counselling help cancer patients?
A 2013 report by Macmillan Cancer Support estimated that of those living with physical and psychological effects of cancer and its treatment, approximately 350,000 people experience sexual difficulties.
While some individuals and couples find that these difficulties or concerns resolve as they recover from acute side effects, for others problems only emerge months after treatment completion.
We know that low sexual desire, erection and ejaculatory difficulties are commonly associated with prostate, colorectal and pelvic cancer treatment and that after breast, gynaecological and some pelvic cancers, there can bedifficulties with low sexual desire, arousal difficulties, orgasm changes and sexual pain.
Psychosexual therapy can be used as a primary treatment to improve the management of and adjustment to these sexual changes or concerns, whether they are temporary or more persistent.
Therapy is often an effective addition to medical (usually pharmacological) management of sexual difficulties, especially where the response to drug management has not been completely successful.
Therapy also supports emotional and couple adjustment when sexual difficulties persist after treatment completion or are associated with permanent physical changes.
For example, supporting people experiencing changes in sexual desire and arousal associated with endocrine treatment for breast or prostate cancer or changes in sexual function after radical pelvic surgery or radiotherapy.
In oncology, psychosexual therapists work closely with your treatment team and, as appropriate, collaborate with other specialist services such as andrology, specialist menopause clinics, urologists, gynaecologists and pelvic floor physiotherapists to ensure the most appropriate medical and therapeutic management for patients and their partners.