Sex and Cancer

Sex and pleasure are the number one taboo issues for women and non-binary people living with cancer, and unfortunately the shame and stigma prevents people from getting help, putting them at risk of deteriorating physical and mental health.  More people are being diagnosed with cancer and survivorship is increasing. With more people living with and beyond cancer, sexual problems as a result of cancer treatment are becoming an increasing issue that needs to be addressed.

Cancer, Sex and Intimacy is a support group funded by Macmillan, working to break the silence around sex for women and non-binary people living with cancer.

Cheryl and Sarah ran the sessions online with Sh! (an award-winning female-focussed sex shop in Hoxton) in 2021. This provided women with the opportunity to tell us about the impact of cancer on their sex lives.  The aim helped to better understand the issues and challenges faced, and how Macmillan can improve the support available for people affected by cancer experiencing sexual problems as a result of their cancer/treatment.

Co-founders Sarah and Cheryl (below) ran the workshops after finding that more support was needed.

Sarah, South East London, Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2017, Co-founder of Cancer, Sex & Intimacy:

“Over the course of 2021, we ran 4 online workshops in collaboration with Sh! Emporium. Each session was attended by over 40 women. It was amazing to have so many people attend but also quite heartbreaking. It just shows how needed proper support around cancer, sex and intimacy is!”

Cheryl, South East London, Diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer in 2017, Co-founder of Cancer, Sex & Intimacy:

“The silence around cancer, sex and intimacy is brutal! We are thankfully treated by wonderful healthcare professionals to save our lives but our quality of life matters too. There are frequent tears when discussing the pain around the ‘unspoken’ to ourselves until sessions such as Cancer, Sex & Intimacy support people in gaining their confidence to finding solutions.”

The workshops provided a safe space for women to talk about sex and cancer, ask questions, seek advice and learn new techniques that they can try at home – in a non-clinical, fun, informative and social environment. We want everyone with cancer to have a conversation about all their needs and concerns and gets the right support to find their best way through.

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Published 8 March 2022