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Physician Innovation Stories / Articles / Recovering Together: a Case for Couples-Oriented Survivorship

Recovering TOGETHER: a case for couples-oriented SURVIVORSHIP

Kadee Thompson, MD, Sacramento, CA

As our practice strives to enhance our prostate cancer survivorship program, I am often impressed with the devotion and advocacy demonstrated by many spouses of prostate cancer patients. The single-mindedness that serves many men in their determination to beat cancer may hinder their ability to simultaneously protect sexual hope and intimacy with their spouses. 

photograph of Dr. Thompson

Partners provide invaluable emotional support in the journey towards sexual recovery.  It has not been unusual for me to meet a couple in consultation for sexual recovery and discover that the patient’s spouse is the foremost champion for her husband’s sexual wellness, particularly after the cancer control has been achieved.

When the couple is able to adapt together to the challenge of sexual losses, that new-found resilience often paves the way to a more complete recovery of intimacy.  

Research shows that sexual motivation in the first year after prostatectomy is significantly enhanced by patient-perceived partner support. Towards a more complete recovery, we are partnering with our sexual health counselor to provide couples with intimacy-enhancing interventions and tools for communication. With physical and psychosocial support, penile implants for erectile recovery can enhance sexual satisfaction and survivorship for patient and partner.
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