What is the Onco-Sexology Program?
- Onco-Sexology is a new health care service bridging oncology and sexual health that responds to an epidemiological reality, a strong individual and societal demand of ethical, clinical, and humanist medicine, and quality care service. It aims at integrating both oncological and quality of life objectives to advance the overall well-being of patients and couples.
- In 2020, the Onco-Sexology Program was established as a joint initiative between the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute and the Women Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) Program– at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at AUBMC, to be the first integrative collaborative care Onco-Sexology Program in Lebanon and the region.
- The Onco-Sexology team will work closely with oncology specialists at the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute to ensure that consultation for sexual health issues for both men and women is integrated into the medical care of all cancer patients who need it.
- The program aims to address sexuality and sexual health concerns of cancer patients and their partners, improve their sexual health, clinical outcomes, and quality of life. The program provides gold-standard, evidence- based, patient and couple-centered holistic multidisciplinary and standardized care from diagnosis unto survivorship.
- Sexual health issues can significantly affect cancer patients’ physical and mental wellbeing. The intimate problems linked to both cancer diagnosis and treatments remain underestimated by health care providers and patients do not usually talk about that aspect of the disease. However it is well known that sexual dysfunction and problems are common and often long- term complications for cancer survivors, affecting over 60% and up to 100% of women with various cancers.
- Cancer diagnosis and modalities of treatment: surgery, chemotherapy or/and radiotherapy, can affect patients in many ways:
– Sexual dysfunction domains: Sexual interest/arousal, low desire, orgasmic experiences, erectile dysfunction, genito-pelvic pain (pain during intercourse).
– Psychosexual issues: Changes in body image and diminished self- identity as sexual being. Fear and anxiety about sexual activity
– Social sexual issues: Challenges in couple communication and fear of not meeting partner expectations.
Mission and Vision
- The Onco-Sexology Program affirms that sexuality and sexual health are core and essential components of sexual and reproductive health and rights of cancer patients and their partners. Cancer patients and survivors have the right to a healthy and satisfying sexual life.
- The Onco-sexology program provides clinical treatment, counselling, rehabilitation and patient education , for both women and men with cancer, to enhance, maintain and promote sexual health during and after illness.
- The Onco-Sexology Program aims to integrate sexual health in the treatment plan of oncology patients and to promote and advance the sexual health of individuals and their partners in their health and illness conditions.
- As sexual and reproductive health and rights advocates, we aim to make sexual health an integral part of the medical treatment approach in the field of Oncology for patients and their partners.
In coordination with the Naef K. Basile cancer Institute, the Onco-Sexology Program will provide counseling and clinical services for both women and men, upon diagnosis, during treatment unto survivorship. Our multidisciplinary team aims to maintain, promote, and enhance sexuality and sexual health, providing care to patients/partners in the various domains of sexual dysfunction.
- Sex education, psychoeducation, and counseling: Addressing concerns related to cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship, changes in pelvic and genital anatomy and physiology, perception of sexuality, body image, self- identity, partner communication, sexual behavior. This can be offered to individuals, couples, and as group therapy.
- Integrated medical management of symptoms: Including a wide range of medications and interventions to address issues such as: lack of sexual interest/arousal, lack of sexual pleasure and satisfaction, low sexual desire, sexual frequency, lack of lubrication, painful sex (dysparunia), erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation. Therapy approaches include: mechanical therapy (pelvic floor exercises, vaginal dilators), pharmacologic and non- pharmacologic agents (lubricant, moisturizers, local estrogen therapy, hormonal therapy, Vitamin E, androgens, Aqueous lidocaine, Phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors, upcoming formulas).
- Psychosexual therapy: Cognitive behavior therapy namely psychotherapy that helps recognize and change perceptions, thoughts and behaviors, art therapy, group support, couples’ therapy and mindfulness strategies.
Meet our team
Our team is multidisciplinary and includes a gynecologist/sexual health specialist, clinical sexologist and an affiliated psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, urologist, and oncology nurses.
Faysal El Kak, MD, MS
Clinical Associate, Department of Obstetrics Gynecology
Obstetrics Gynecology- Sexual Health- Female sexual dysfunction
Director – WISH Program
Sandrine Atallah, MD, EFS/ESSM
Clinical associate, Department of Obstetrics Gynecology
Bassel Bachir, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Division of Urology – Department of Surgery
Brigitte Khoury, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Director Psychology Training Program
Farid Talih, MD
Assistant Professor – Department of Psychiatry
Who can benefit from this program?
- If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, are going through cancer treatment, are a survivor, or are going through cancer care transitions, and experiencing sexuality and sexual health problems or concerns, the Onco-Sexology program is the right program to assist you and your partner in dealing with them.
- Its interventions and healthcare professionals provide patients/partners with a comprehensive treatment and coping plan to better adjust to the impact of the cancer disease trajectory on your intimate life and sexual health.
Why come to us?
- The Onco-Sexology Program provides timely, early, and regular comprehensive provision of up-to-date sexual health interventions to alleviate sexual dysfunction and enhance sexual health and wellbeing.
- We strive to provide patients with a holistic collaborative treatment plan that is tailored to the unique needs and experience of the patient and the couple’s sexual health.
Cancer, intimacy and sexuality
- Whether you have been newly diagnosed or have completed treatment, if you are seeking information on how to best cope with cancer, intimacy and sexuality: Please consult our patient education information below specifically prepared to help patients handle this aspect of dealing with the disease.
- In line with the psycho-social aspect of cancer care, the Naef K. Basile Institute actively fosters the development of awareness resources on managing cancer in order to help patients navigate disease as best possible and strengthen its supportive care approach.
- At our dedicated Patient Information Material page you will find various resources designed to enlighten patients about general care topics ranging from prevention, screening to implantable ports and disease information on bladder, lung, prostate, pancreatic and testicular cancer.
Location and apointment scheduling
The Onco-Sexology Program is located at AUBMC, Phase 1, 7th floor, at the Women Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) Program, Maamari St. To contact us, please call: +961-1-749 209.