The appeal, ‘stop the taboos on sexuality and cancer’

Event organized by the Women Cancer Center of the European Institute of Oncology

Sexuality shouldn’t be taboo for someone with cancer. This is the appeal that came from the event organized by the Women Cancer Center of the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), scheduled for 19 June at the Palazzo delle Stelline (Sala Porta). The message, intended for all patients, their families and all the professionals who deal with female oncology, is entrusted, in addition to the interventions of Ieo experts, to the Mamanonmana association of Amalia Vetromile and its social innovation project aimed at to women affected by oncological disease Sexandthecancer*.

During the meeting, the ‘Ballad Sensuale’ will be screened, the original artistic installation that the association has created to raise awareness, through art, on the theme of sexuality after recovery from cancer. “The Women cancer center Ieo is the result of the great achievements in the curability of female tumors in the last 10 years, which allow us today to broaden our perspective from mere survival to taking charge of women in their entirety, before, during and after the treatments”, explain Nicoletta Colombo and Viviana Galimberti, managers of the Ieo Women Cancer Center and respectively director of the Gynecology Program and director of breast surgery.

“At Ieo – Colombo and Galimberti report – we have created the first model of structure entirely dedicated to the female universe within an oncological center, where, in a special space, women find clinics dedicated to the problems most frequently connected to the disease cancer, which can be an obstacle to the recovery of a full life. One of these is undoubtedly sexuality”.

“About 15% of women with cancer are under the age of 40. For this age group, the issue of sexuality, the relationship with one’s partner, the relationship with one’s children, is a priority. There is also the problem of fertility after an oncological diagnosis, because many women still believe that it is impossible to become mothers after a tumor. Instead it is not, not anymore”, underlines Fedro Peccatori, director of the Fertility and Procreation Unit. “You have to talk to the doctors about it, explain to them what your priorities are, discuss and demand the best possible treatment – he exhorts -. Doctors often take many things for granted and then silence takes over. This silence must be interrupted because it is at the expense of the quality of life of women”. “Knowing the perception of a woman’s sexuality before the disease makes it easier to understand how to restore it. Today we have many tools, ranging from creams to lasers up to the latest arrival: a chair for the treatment of the pelvic floor. But we need to know who and when to offer them. When to talk to the woman or when should the woman talk to the doctor about these problems? The ideal would be immediately, as soon as the diagnosis of cancer arrives. Often, however, it doesn’t happen because the woman’s mind is engaged in something else entirely. The important thing is to feel free to express yourself when you feel the need”, add Eleonora Preti, gynecologist and sexologist, and Ludovica Scotto, psychotherapist and sexual consultant at the Ieo Women cancer center. “Sexual dysfunctions after a tumor – they underline – they are very frequent so you shouldn’t feel strange or alone in this discomfort and you shouldn’t think it’s an atypical reaction because you let yourself be put down by the disease. All the symptoms of the alteration of sexuality due to the therapies occur almost immediately and in almost all women. And in almost all cases they can be solved ”, they assure.