Background and Context: A person coping with cancer experiences many physical and emotional changes. As part of cancer survivor's quality of life sexuality undergoes a change due to the disease and its treatments.
The caregiving staff, and patients themselves, often refrain from tackling issues relating to sexuality for various reasons, namely: shame and embarrassment, myths, cultural differences, etc.
The Israel Cancer Association has identified patients’ and caregivers’ needs and has been making intense efforts to meet these needs for many years.
Aim: ICA sexuality-related activities aim to:
1. Serve as an accessible source of free sexuality counselling for every survivor and/or partner interested in this service.
2. Bolster the confidence and hone the skills of caregivers to enable them to assist patients and their partners with sexuality-related issues, as part of their comprehensive treatment.
Diverse activities are offered to patients, such as: individual and couple counselling, support groups, workshops, information booklets, and more.
Courses, workshops, lectures, professional forums and other activities are held for caregiving staff. Attitudes and knowledge of personnel participating in these activities were reviewed before and after each activity, through evaluation questionnaires.
The presentation will feature statistics pertaining to diverse activities, how they are held, and their scope. These data will also demonstrate the changes in caregivers' attitudes and knowledge regarding sexuality before and after two courses on: "Rehabilitation of sexual health of cancer survivors and their partners".
Following intense Israel Cancer Association sexuality counselling activity over the years, a change has been observed in the attitudes and knowledge of trained caregiving staff. However, there is a need to expand the program for additional segments of the patient and caregiver populations, and further research is necessary.