Important to be open to discussing sex with young cancer survivors
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IMAGE: This is Maria Olsson, PhD, Sahlgrenska Academy, and specialist nurse in cancerrehabilitation view more 

Credit: Barncancerfonden

Feeling unattractive and dissatisfied with their sexual ability – that is reality for many teenage and young adult cancer survivors. Research from Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, now gives a voice to a group that often has a difficult journey back to a normal life.

“People in healthcare are afraid to talk about this, but you have to dare and you have to be willing, without being brusque or overly upbeat,” says Maria Olsson, who holds a PhD in pediatrics from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and is a specialist nurse in cancerrehabilitation at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

In her dissertation, she conducted eleven focus group interviews and a web-based survey involving 540 participants, all cancer survivors aged 15-29. The interviews clearly showed that teenagers and young adults would like to have age-appropriate treatment environments.

“If you’re 17 years old, it isn’t easy to be cared for among screaming toddlers. Meanwhile, a 25-year old may find himself in a four-bed hospital room with men in their 60s and 70s who are discussing the stock market. These patients rarely end up with someone from their own

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