Cancer: Addressing Sexuality and Body Image

1h of CPD
Katharine Hodgkinson
23 May 2017

A cancer diagnosis can adversely impact an individual’s sexuality and body image. This Course examines why this may be the case, and offers strategies for health professionals to address sexuality and body image concerns.

Explain

Explain the impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on a person's sexual functioning and body image

Describe

Describe some of the barriers nurses may encounter when addressing sexuality and body image

Identify

Identify skills required for addressing sexual and body image concerns

Educator

Katharine Hodgkinson

Dr Katharine Hodgkinson is a Clinical Psychologist with over 18 years’ experience in client care, research and education. Katharine currently leads a team of Clinical and Consulting Psychologists at HeadwayHealth providing a range of psychological interventions to support to those affected by a cancer and other heath and emotional concerns. Katharine has published numerous research papers and several book chapters in cancer care, and co-edited the book “Psychosocial Care of Cancer Patients. A Health Professional’s Guide to What to Say and Do” (Hodgkinson K and Gilchrist J, Ausmed Publications, 2008).

Comments

Daniel Nicholas Milano27 Jun 2018
An engaging lecture. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Avelina Go Chow30 May 2018
Excellent topic that we need to learn more skills

Katherine Hepworth26 May 2018
Interesting

Emily Ravaillion07 May 2018
A good reminder that sexuality is part of holistic patient care and that we need to address and manage it with patients.

Norest Mashonganyika24 Dec 2017
Well presented

Course Overview

Topics include:

  • The impact of a cancer diagnosis on intimacy and body image
  • Myths about sex and cancer
  • Overcoming barriers to addressing sexual concerns
  • Skills for addressing sexual and body image concerns

Target audience

Health professionals who care for people diagnosed with cancer, and their loved ones. It may also be useful for individuals who, in their personal lives, may provide care and support for a loved one experiencing cancer.

Purpose

Health professionals who care for people diagnosed with cancer, and their loved ones. It may also be useful for individuals who, in their personal lives, may provide care and support for a loved one experiencing cancer.

Need

A person's sexuality and their body image may form an important part of their identity and can be significantly affected by a cancer diagnosis. Interventions are effective and a key area of comprehensive holistic cancer care. However, sexual and body image concerns are often not addressed by health professionals, and patients themselves typically do not raise the topic, despite wanting more information. A major barrier to addressing sexuality and body image is a health professional’s comfort and skill level. However, health professionals are uniquely placed to help and can build upon existing assessment and intervention skills to improve outcomes for patients. Skills include: raising the topic, assessing concerns, providing information, and offering referral options. Health professionals have a responsibility to address these concerns with all patients; with practice, they can improve this rewarding and effective area of their clinical expertise.

A person's sexuality and their body image may form an important part of their identity and can be significantly affected by a cancer diagnosis. Interventions are effective and a key area of comprehensive holistic cancer care. However, sexual and body image concerns are often not addressed by health professionals, and patients themselves typically do not raise the topic, despite wanting more information. A major barrier to addressing sexuality and body image is a health professional’s comfort and skill level. However, health professionals are uniquely placed to help and can build upon existing assessment and intervention skills to improve outcomes for patients. Skills include: raising the topic, assessing concerns, providing information, and offering referral options. Health professionals have a responsibility to address these concerns with all patients; with practice, they can improve this rewarding and effective area of their clinical expertise.

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