Sexual health for cancer survivors

Caring loving husband supporting ill wife feeling tired after chemotherapy

“How’s your sex life?” Did your oncologist ask you this question at any time during your cancer experience? Chances are they didn’t. Statistically, less than 50 percent of cancer patients report having had any conversation with their doctors about their sexual health.

Why is this?

You are getting a lot of information and maybe you think this is not a priority. If the doctor doesn’t bring it up, you may think you shouldn’t either.

Well, let’s talk about it!

Your sexual health can be impacted by your cancer diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes this is a physical issue, sometimes it is an emotional issue. Sometimes it is both. Either way, it is important to know that by reaching out you can find help.

As a cancer survivor, you already know that there are things in your life that have changed. Your interest in sex may be different or you may be experiencing pain during sex. These are the two biggest issues that cancer survivors report. So, if you are dealing with either of these issues, remember two things; the first is you are NOT alone! The second is to TALK about your issues.

Who can help?

Start with your doctor; they can help navigate any physical issues. UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center also employs a team of social workers with a wide range of expertise available to discuss any survivorship issues. This includes a Licensed Clinical Social Worker trained in sexual health counseling.

For more information, contact the UofL Brown Cancer Center’s M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at 502-562-4158.

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About Kimberly Williams, MSSW, LCSW

Kimberly Williams has been a medical social worker for more than 30 years, an oncology social worker for the last 10 years, and a breast cancer social worker for the past seven years. She specializes in sexual health therapy. She is interested in helping women live their lives after receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer, helping them remember that they are still the woman they were prior to that diagnosis. She reminds women they are still daughters, mothers, friends, partners and lovers, even though during treatment it is easy to define yourself as your cancer. As an oncology social worker, she helps with issues relating to children, relationships and sexuality, as well as work/life and financial concerns. Her goal is to bring a level of normal to an abnormal situation. Kimberly has a master's in social work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

All posts by Kimberly Williams, MSSW, LCSW