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PhD ceremony Mr. J.H. Kedde: Sexual health of people with disability and chronic illness

When:We 23-01-2013 at 14:30

PhD ceremony: Mr. J.H. Kedde, 14.30 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Sexual health of people with disability and chronic illness

Promotor(s): prof. H.B.M. van de Wiel, prof. W.C.M. Weijmar Schultz

Faculty: Medical Sciences

Previous studies have shown that sexual health problems are more prevalent among people with physical disabilities and chronic diseases than among able-bodied people. However, several important knowledge gaps remain. In general these questions concern the factors that are associated with the sexual well-being of people with physical disabilities and chronic diseases, as well as the factors that are associated with help-seeking behaviour, and the efficacy of psychosexual therapy. Young women with breast cancer are a case in point. In this dissertation, two studies provide insight into their sexual health problems, especially with regard to the rehabilitation period, as well as associated treatment methods, and treatment-related disturbances and side effects.

The results show that health care professionals are not adequately dealing with sexual problems so that people with a disease or disability experience their needs are appropriately met. Only a third of the contacts are evaluated positively. We found that a short-term psychosexual intervention by sexologists can be of great value; it has a positive effect on clients’ overall sexual health. In the wake of breast cancer, women seem to resume their sexual lives but have trouble enjoying sex. Sexual dysfunctions also remain highly prevalent among young women with breast cancer after treatment. Therefore, resuming one’s sexual life after breast cancer is a difficult and time-consuming process.