of violence in cancer patients and survivors

Approach to management of violence

CBT is to diagnose and manage SGBV among breast and cervical cancer patients and survivors. It is organized from the most common problems and complaints mentioned by patients and survivors at our health clinics, to more specific and unique issues that have been brought to our attention. The CBT also allows flexibility to accommodate unforeseen complaints that may arise. At its core, it combines both psychological support, sexual health support, and dyadic coping as a management triad that works synergetically to restore and maintain happiness and satisfaction among female cancer patients, survivors and their partners.

Psychological Support

The CBT approach is based on an educational model and encourages the examination of thoughts as hypotheses or guesses that can be questioned and tested. This approach is structured, collaborative, focused and educational. It “gives voice to the unspoken,” and highlights the importance of attending to internal dialogues and motivations by exploring the connections between thoughts, feelings, behaviors, physiology, and environment. The main goal of the approach is to both solve the issues the patient may be facing and teach them how to solve these problems.

Sexual Health Support

We discuss any frustrations the patient’s partner may have with the patient, such as fragile of sexual responses, trouble getting or maintaining an erection, troubles with lubrication and achieving orgasm. Providers also should discuss any uncertainty or hesitations surrounding patients’ sexual health as well as the potential need for sexual stimulants and enhancers such as vibrators, and vaginal lubricants.

Dyadic coping

Dyadic coping mechanisms emphasize that both partners are affected by the illness of one, and that they should address the cancer-related issues that affect their relationship together. Indeed, couples faced with breast and cervical cancer have to deal with a range of stressors, such as emotional, sexual, and existential concerns, the medical treatment and its side effects, altered sexualities, and changed social relationships and roles. Further, once a patient has completed their treatment and begins to transition to survivorship, new challenges arise for both themselves and their relationship. Indeed, many women face different forms of SGBV and their relationship with their partner is strained. Failure to address the challenges that couples face after cancer treatment threatens women’s health as a whole. Thus, as part of cancer care, providers need to recognize that the stressors are dyadic; they either concern the couple directly, when both are dealing with the same stressor, or indirectly, when the stress of one partner spills over and affects the other. The main goal of healthcare should be to reduce stress for both partners and to enhance the quality of their relationship .