News Wednesday September 28, 2011

Therapy after cancer assists with impotence

Study conducted in the United States suggests that online counselling and traditional therapy may help men who experience erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer.

Researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, led by study author Leslie Schover, looked at 115 prostate cancer survivors who were experiencing erectile dysfunction. The Counselling About Regaining Erections and Sexual Satisfaction (CAREss) study classified these subjects then into three groups; with one waiting for therapy and counselling, another receiving online care and the third group having face-to-face attention.

Three months into the study, the groups were then randomly swapped and put into different forms of therapy or back to the waiting list. A further 71 couples, entirely using Internet-based counselling was also added at this point to help analyse the results.

Those showed that overall the men and their partners who had received some form of counselling or therapy, be it online or traditional, had significantly improved erectile function as well as orgasm function. They also reported more intercourse satisfaction and overall sexual satisfaction, in comparison to those who had remained on the waiting list entirely.

Unfortunately, Shover noted that for many people in the United States, this will ultimately be difficult as counselling may not be possible given their insurance situations.

“[Very] few insurance policies sufficiently cover sexual counselling in particular, and mental health counselling in general," he said in a statement. “Another barrier is that there are few mental healthcare professionals trained to deal with both cancer coping and sexual problems.”

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