For many people, sex and intimacy is an important part of life. Some people may experience changes to sexuality or intimacy during and after cancer treatment. Changes may affect the person with cancer as well as their partners or carers.
Every person is different but for some changes may include:
Physical changes to your body
How you feel about and/or see your body
How you feel about yourself
How you feel about sex
How you feel about relationships
Clinical services at Peter Mac Parkville
- Psychology services Psychologists use various approaches to help people with cancer and their families adjust to the emotional and psychological challenges of cancer.
- Social work services Social workers can assist and provide support during cancer diagnosis and treatment.
- Physiotherapy services Physiotherapists and exercise physiologists can assist with mobility and physical function before, during and after cancer treatment.
- ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Service (ONTrac at Peter Mac) This service provides support to young people between the ages of 15 and 25 years with cancer, and their families. They work with the medical team to ensure all aspects of a young person’s health and wellbeing are looked after, both during treatment and in the years beyond treatment.
- Optimisation clinic: This multidisciplinary outpatient clinic is for cancer survivors with complex needs. Services include a dietitian, psychologist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist. For referrals please email [email protected] or contact [email protected] for further information.
- Sexual health and erectile dysfunction clinic: This clinic focuses on managing erectile dysfunction. It is designed for people who have had surgery following a prostate cancer diagnosis. For more information contact the patient navigator on 03 8559 8496 or email [email protected].
Other clinical services in the Parkville precinct
- The Royal Women’s Hospital: Menopause symptoms after cancer clinic (MSAC). This clinic offers advice on medical therapies to help improve menopausal symptoms, and provides information on lifestyle factors such as sexual counselling, exercise, nutrition and fertility after cancer treatment.
- The Royal Women’s Hospital: Psychosexual Medicine Clinic. This clinic is run by doctors trained in women’s health and sexuality, as well as couples and individual counselling. Referrals can be made via the Clinic Access Centre or the MSAC.
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guideline (2017): Interventions to Address Sexual Problems in People With Cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Adaptation of Cancer Care Ontario Guideline (US)
- Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) guideline (2014): Psychosocial management of AYAs diagnosed with cancer: Guidance for health professionals
- Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (2018): Sexual Health Issues for the Young Adult with Cancer: An International Symposium Held During the First Global Adolescents and Young Adults Cancer Congress (Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
Information for cancer survivors and their families
- Cancer Council Victoria booklet: Sexuality and intimacy
- Cancer Council NSW podcast: The thing about cancer: sex and cancer
- Cancer Council NSW webinar: Let’s talk about sex after cancer
- Sexual Health Australia website: Cancer & Sexuality
- MacMillian Cancer Support website: Relationships and sex (UK)
- National LGBT Cancer Project website: LGBT cancer survivorship (US)
- National LGBT Cancer Network website: Cancer survivorship issues (US)
- Breast Cancer Network Australia booklet: Breast cancer and sexual wellbeing
- Cancer.Net website: Sexual health and cancer treatment: women (US)
- Livestrong website: Female sexual health after cancer (US)
- Breast Cancer Network Australia website: Information for same-sex partners
- Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia booklet: Understanding sexual issues following prostate cancer treatment
- Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia website: Gay and bisexual men, Wellbeing
- Cancer.Net website: Sexual health and cancer treatment: men (US)
- Livestrong website: Male sexual health after cancer (US)
- Canteen fact sheet: Sexuality
- ONTrac at Peter Mac booklet: Be ok...being you: A guide for young people who identify as LGBTIQ+ and have cancer
- Future Fertility fact sheet: Talking to your healthcare provider about sexual difficulties
- Future Fertility fact sheet: Having sexual relationships during and after cancer treatment
- Cancer.Net video: Dating and sexuality (US)
Additional resources for health professionals
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre video: Female sexual and vaginal health after cancer (US)
- Cancer Council NSW webinar: Cancer: It’s out of the closet
- eviQ Education modules: Psychosexual care of women affected by gynaecological cancers
- Teenage Cancer Trust booklet: The Blueprint of Care for teenagers and young adults with cancer, second edition (UK)
- A psychosexual intervention for couple within the first year of post-allogenic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation: A pilot study (current)
Principal Investigator: Brindha Pillay, contact emails: [email protected]
If you would like to advise of any relevant projects or provide feedback please email ACSC.