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Sexual Health & Healing After Cancer

Sex is one of life’s natural pleasures and it should not be not be painful. We may be able to help.

Meet our Sexual Health Specialists:  Nicole Afuape, MD, FACOG  |  George Kallingal, MD, MPH

We built our Sexual Health and Healing Program around your needs and goals. At Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, we know life-saving cancer treatment may change a lot of things in your body. Hormonal imbalance can occur as well as physical changes that cause challenges with sexuality and intimacy, such as sex after a mastectomy or radiation or surgery for rectal or prostate cancer. If you are experiencing any of the following conditions, please schedule an assessment:

Common symptoms

  • Pain during sex such as dysparenuia
  • Penile curvature
  • Low testosterone
  • Changes in orgasm
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Difficulties with premature ejaculation
  • Trouble having sex after cancer surgery
  • Unable to control your bladder or bowels
  • Vaginal dryness, tightness, burning, scarring
  • Low libido, inability to be aroused or no sexual interest
  • Anxiety or depression around sex, i.e., body shame, emotional pain such as anxiety, depression, poor body image, or low self-image related to sex

Our services

  • Surgical interventions, including excision of vaginal cuff, penile implant, pelvic floor muscle injections and nerve blocks
  • Hormone replacement and non-hormonal therapy
  • Rehabilitation support including pelvic floor physical therapy 
  • Sexual health education, relaxation and support
  • Penile low-intensity shockwave therapy
  • Penile erection therapy

What to expect

Our interdisciplinary care team provides comprehensive, compassionate care coordination, guidance, education, and ongoing follow-up care throughout your entire journey. The Sexual Health and Healing program at the Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s may be able to help you return to sexual intimacy following cancer-related surgery, radiation or treatment with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. If you are undergoing treatment or have completed treatment for ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer or bladder cancer, rectal cancer, or other cancers and experiencing challenges with sexual intimacy, we may be able to help.

Here's what to expect: 

  • Comprehensive sexual health assessment
  • Physical exam to assess sexual function and dysfunction
  • Education and awareness about sexual health function, dysfunction, desire and how it intersects with cancer treatment including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, cancer surgery and radiation therapy
  • Supportive care and services including physical therapy and social work

Never feel embarrassed or worried about talking to us about your sexual health. Let us be your trusted health care partner.

Learn more

Call (602) 406-8222 to schedule your confidential assessment or for more information.

Sexual Health & Healing at Dignity Health – Cancer Institute