Judith Boice, ND, LAc, FABNO, a naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, best-selling author, international speaker, and associate professor at the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS), https://achs.edu/staff/judith-boice began exploring how to respond to patient questions about sexuality as a member of a medical team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America [Southwestern Regional Medical Center].
“When patients repeatedly stopped me before I left their room to ask, “What about sex while I’m going through cancer treatment and afterward?” I knew we were missing a very important educational component patients required to make informed decisions about their treatment options. These patients’ concerns also alerted me that we were not adequately addressing sexuality during their ongoing recovery and healing. It became crystal clear that patients were deeply concerned about their lack of libido and ability to function sexually and how that affected their relationship with their partner,” says Dr. Boice.
Dr. Boice helped establish a collaborative team consisting of members from multiple departments throughout the treatment center whose objective was to first understand the concerns of their patients and then create a protocol to address issues related to their sexuality. The team quickly realized most patients wait for their doctor to talk about sexual issues, and many are too embarrassed to ask. Next, they established a medical team approach designed to explain the full impact of surgical and radiation treatment for both patients and their family members. They offered a variety of therapies that could restore vaginal tissue and help men recover their erectile function.
Dr. Boice emphasizes that intimacy in any relationship is as important, if not more important, than racing for the orgasm. “When coping with the overwhelming emotions brought on by the traumatic experience of chronic illness or cancer treatment, intimacy and loving support are needed more than ever for healing,” she says.
“One of the primary ways clinicians can support cancer survivors is to help them expand their understanding of sexuality to include sensuality. As a sexual signature, sensuality is the ability to fully experience one’s senses. Smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing, touching, and feeling combine to awaken the body and can strongly contribute to a sexual connection,” says Dr. Boice.
To learn more about Dr. Boice and her work with cancer patients, you can go to her article Let’s Talk About Sex: Sexuality During and After Cancer Treatment published in The Natural Medicine Journal.
About American College of Healthcare Sciences
Founded in 1978, ACHS.edu is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and wellness. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named two of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2017 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Visit achs.edu.