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A Winnipeg doctor who specializes in treating sexual problems with cancer patients is hoping to spread the word that doctors are upfront with their patients.

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Dr. Anne Katz hosted an online forum for Windsor Regional Hospital workers on Cancer, Intimacy and Sexuality.

Katz is the author of several books dealing with the issue.

“The message is really that sexually it’s really important to people, to all of us, and I really want to encourage cancer providers to talk to their patients about it, because when we don’t talk about it, patients think it’s a taboo, ”Katz said.

“And 80 percent of cancer survivors experience sexual difficulties after cancer treatment. “

Katz said doctors should be more willing to discuss sexual issues with their cancer patients.

“So it’s really something where we have to expose people to this conversation,” Katz said.

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“All cancers, all people, men, women, gay, straight, people recognize that things don’t go well during treatment, but all more common sexual problems are not recognized until after treatment.”

Katz said many people undergoing cancer treatment don’t realize there’s a problem until later.

“Usually people during treatment don’t really feel very well, so it’s kind of on the back burner, but it’s really a sentinel of survival,” Katz said.

“People come to me and we certainly know that most men with prostate cancer will have erectile difficulties, most women with breast cancer often have body problems, early menopause. or exaggerated menopause symptoms, people with colorectal cancer have problems. “

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Katz said everyone who suffers from cancer must tackle the problem.

“These are really all cancers,” Katz said. “We are all sexual beings, literally, from cradle to grave, whether you act on it or not.

“Even if you are not in a relationship. It is so much a part of the quality of life for cancer survivors. So it goes, there are couples who lose this connection, there are couples who use sex to reconcile after arguments. They fight a lot because there is no way to resolve the fighting.

“Unless oncology workers can bring it up and talk about it, patients are very reluctant to bring it up. “

chthompson@postmedia.com


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