Retirement hits NW prostate cancer sex therapy service

A sex therapy service in the Western Trust for survivors of prostate cancer has had to be cut back due to the retirement of an erectile dysfunction therapist, although recruitment is underway for a replacement, it has emerged.

The local health authority released details of the labour shortage in response to a Freedom of Information request lodged by the men’s health charity Prostate Cancer UK.

Founded in 1996 by Professor Jonathan Waxman to address what he described as the ‘outrageous and arbitrary surgical treatment of men,’ Prostate Cancer UK aims to stop men dying from prostate cancer within ten years.

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But it also aims to improve the qualities of lives for men and their loved ones who have undergone treatment for the killer disease, hence its queries to the local health authority.

It asked the Trust if it provided an erectile dysfunction clinic, to which the local health authority said it provides six per month.

“The Western Health and Social Care Trust provides erectile dysfunction (ED) clinics at Altnagelvin Area Hospital which are both medical and nurse led clinics.

“There are two medical led clinics per month and four nurse led clinics per month,” it stated.

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But the Trust confirmed it was suffering from one staff shortage as a result of retirement and that this was having an impact on its services for men suffering erectile dysfunction.

“The Western Trust provides one-to-one sex therapy counselling sessions which are administered through Erne House at the Tyrone and Fermanagh Hospital in Omagh.

“Due to the retirement of the Trust Erectile Dysfunction Therapist we are currently not in a position to provide previous levels of therapy/support, however recruitment to the post is currently underway,” the Trust confirmed.

Prostate Cancer UK also asked if the pharmaceutical drug tadalafil, branded as Cialis, was available to men who had come through prostate cancer treatment and were suffering sexual problems.

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The Trust said it was available to patients and was prescribed within the dosage range of 2.5 mg (daily), 5 mg (daily) or 10 mg and 20 mg - as required.

Prostate Cancer UK has been collecting evidence to make sure that every man who experiences erectile dysfunction as a result of prostate cancer treatment can access the best information, services, support and products to help deal with it.

The charity encourages men and their partners, who have experienced treatment for prostate cancer to contact them with details of these experiences.

For more details visit the website.