Sexuality is integral to a person’s identity and is an important contributor to quality of life in many patients with cancer illness and their partners. All cancers and related treatments have the potential to affect sexuality and sexual function and can impact on all phases of sexual response. This may result from impaired body function or alterate body image or from the emotional and psychological distress that often accompany diagnosis and treatment. Many cancer illness pa- tients may appreciate the opportunity to discuss psychological issues of sexuality and intimacy with a trusted health professional and want to learn about the implication of the treatment and medication on their sexuality. But health professionals struggle to accept that people with cancer illness continue to be sexual being, so patient sexuality and intimacy are widely medicalised. PLISSIT, ALARM and BETTER models offer useful tools to address sexuality and sexual health and provide a graded counselling approach that allow doctors and nurses to deal with sexual issues at their own level of expertise and comfort.
Keywords: Sexuality, cancer illness, PLISSIT, ALARM, BETTER