Study: Counseling can help couples overcome the sexual effects of prostate cancer treatment

Treatment for prostate cancer can affect a man in a number of ways. Now, a new study is shedding light on the sexual aspect of the treatment, demonstrating that couples can get back in their groove following cancer treatment with the help of counseling. Research published in the journal Cancer is suggesting that sex counseling both in-person and online was an effective way to improve the sex lives of couples after prostate cancer treatment.

The research also found that those who were on a waiting list for counseling did not see an improvement in their sex lives. In the study, 115 heterosexual couples involving prostate cancer survivors who were experiencing erectile dysfunction were split into three categories: those who were on a wait list, couples who sought online counseling and a group that were counseled in-person. Those that were on the wait list were eventually taken into counseling after three months.

The study's authors noted that men experienced significant improvement with their sexual function after one year of counseling, while women also saw an improvement in sexual problems they were facing before they entered counseling.

However, the researchers noted that there are barriers to counseling, such as people not having the insurance to cover sessions.

"Very few insurance policies sufficiently cover sexual counseling in particular, and mental health counseling in general," said the study's lead author Dr. Leslie Schover, noting that many couples are already paying the co-payments of cancer treatment. "Another barrier is that there are few mental health care professionals trained to deal with both cancer coping and sexual problems."

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