Page 1 of 2  > >>

Aug 23, 2012
The deadlines for abstract submission and registration for the 3rd Symposium Cancer and Sexuality are extended until 15th September!!! Click here for more information about the meeting.
Jul 5, 2012
The scientific program for the 3rd Symposium on Cancer and Sexuality is available. For a download of the full program, please click here.
Feb 23, 2012

Flyer available for the 3rd Symposium on Cancer and Sexuality!

See homepage, click on the flyer and you will see the printable version, which you can print and use to inform your colleagues about this next Symposium


Contact us

    ISSC Secretariat
    COMM Santé
    Ms Sophie Berguer-Travers

    76, rue Marcel Sembat
    33 323 Bègles Cedex

    Phone: +33 (0)5 57 97 00 88
    Fax: +33 (0)5 57 97 19 15

The Forgotten Aspects of Quality of Life after Cancer

Intimacy & Sexuality
The Forgotten Aspects of Quality of Life after Cancer

ISSC encourages British charity Macmillan’s Campaign on Sexual Relationships in Cancer to go global

During the month of May 2009, British charity Macmillan Cancer Support is launching a National Campaign to raise awareness of how cancer and its treatments affect sexual relationships. A recent Macmillan survey showed that 70% of cancer patients were not spoken to by their Health Professionals, yet a third of them experienced sexual dysfunction.

A review of the literature confirms that between 35-50% of cancer survivors will experience a sexual dysfunction as a direct consequence of the treatments they receive. Research further shows that professionals often don’t see it as their role to discuss sexuality, and frequently don’t feel skilled or confident enough to raise the subject. Health Professionals are frequently worried about offending patients by rasing such a sensitive topic and assume a patient will raise the topic themselves if they have a concern. Unfortunately, research also shows that patients do not usually feel comfortable to be the first to bring up the topic of sexuality as they are not sure whether it would be appropriate and whether anything could be done to address their difficulties. Patients furthermore often don’t want to seem ungrateful when doctors and treatments have saved their lives. The responsiblity of ensuring this sensitive topic is raised therefore falls on professionals who have to ensure informed consent to treatment and enable patients to return to leading lives which are as normal as possible.

Macmillan Cancer Support has a prime position as an important political power within the British health service. The campaign comes at a time when national cancer guidance has seen an increased focus on Survivorship issues and is embedded in key documents such as the National Centre of Clinical Excellence (NICE)’s  Guidance on Palliative and Supportive Care (2004) (

And the Cancer Reform Strategy (2007) (

As part of the campaign, Macmillan will be promoting thier existing patient information and developing online videos for patients showing health professionals addressing some of the issues surrounding sexuality and cancer.

A Macmillan spokesperson said: “We are encouraging cancer patients to talk to their health peofessionals about the problems they are experiencing and not suffer alone. However, we know that many health professionals would like more support to address these issues, which is why we are producing the online toolkit which will include tips and advice on how to raise the topic with patients.

The campaign calls are for health professionals to talk to their patients about the impact of cancer on their sexual relationships at the earliest possible time. Commissioners of health care services are called on to ensure that all health care professionals receive training in rehabilitation needs assessment including information on psychosexual support. They are also called on to ensure cancer patients have access to healthcare professionals with the necessary skills to offer the required level of support.

ISSC welcomes this exciting development in the United Kingdom. We would like to go a step further and encourage our members to think about what similar activities or developments could be encouraged in different member states. Can this be the start of an annual global campaign on “Intimacy & Sexuality – the Forgotten Aspects of Quality of Life after Cancer”?

We invite our members to become messengers of spreading the idea and trying to influence local cancer societies to follow the UK campaign and include sexuality and intimacy in their campaigns and programs, to influence global cancer information and to send messages to national, regional and global sexology organisations and influence them to add the cancer topic to their sexuality work.

The Macmillan online toolkit and videos for people affected by cancer is on their website A range of existing patient information leaflets on Sexuality and cancer, Cancer, you and your partner, Cancer treatment and fertility for men/women, Pelvic radiotherapy for men/women: possible late effects, and Relationships, sex and fertility: for your people affected by cancer, can be ordered in the UK on 0800 500 800.

For more information, please visit