Women's Integrative Sexual Health (WISH) Program
The goal of the Women's Integrative Sexual Health (WISH) program it to provide individual clinical consultation, resources, education, emotional support and appropriate referrals related to sexual health concerns for women with cancer.
Cancer and Sexual Health
Approximately 64 percent of women's cancers involve a sexual organ. As few as 10 years ago, when a woman was diagnosed with cancer, the sole focus was survival. Today, with dramatic improvement in survival rates, patients can focus on quality-of-life after treatment, remission or recovery.
About half of all women diagnosed with cancer experience sexual problems after treatment. In treating gynecologic cancer patients, our staff understands the impact cancer can have on their quality-of-life and have sought information and developed skills to help them address these issues. The WISH program offers care to women diagnosed with any form of cancer in a setting that supports each individual’s sexual well-being.
About the WISH Program
- The first 60-minute consultation at the UW Carbone Cancer Center includes a thorough history and education about sexual problems after cancer.
- The second 60-minute visit includes a complete physical exam and treatment planning discussion.
- Some women may be referred to UW Health pelvic floor physical therapists. Pelvic floor muscles are one of the main causes of pain during intercourse. Common causes of pain in the pelvic floor muscles include spasm, trigger points, tightness and scar tissue. Treatment may involve internal or external manual therapy, home exercises, dilator therapy, biofeedback and use of imaging ultrasound.
- Referral to a relationship therapist who specializes in sex therapy may also be recommended. Sex therapy includes identifying and examining feelings about the patient and their partner, improving communication, and learning new ways to approach old patterns.
Did you know?
- Sexual dysfunction is more common in women than in men.
- According to the National Institutes of Health, 40-100 percent of cancer survivors experience sexual problems after cancer treatment.
- Many women want to talk about sexual issues after cancer treatment, but are worried about bringing up the topic.
The UW Carbone Cancer Center WISH program was inspired by and replicates many aspects of the University of Chicago Program in Integrative Sexual Medicine for Women and Girls with Cancer. WISH is the first collaborating program to join the PRISM Registry, a research tool to accelerate knowledge across communities about the prevention and management of sexual problems in women and girls affected by cancer.