Sex with Cancer Conversation Champions
We know that some healthcare professionals struggle to talk about sex, pleasure and intimacy. That’s why we wanted to celebrate those people doing the best work!
In August 2021, we launched a nationwide search for healthcare professionals who:
– Talk to us about sex, sexuality, sexual function and sexual health with ease.
– Make us feel safe and comfortable with our questions and concerns about sex and pleasure.
– Encourage us to be ourselves as powerful, sexual, capable beings – more than just patients.
Meet our two winners, and find out why you thought them worthy of being crowned Sex with Cancer Conversation Champions.
Nominated by Margaret R who said:
“Azmina is an amazing professional. She also has a lived cancer experience herself. She has given talks on sex and cancer and hosted different programmes discussing the subject. She is open and welcoming and puts people at ease, enabling them to have difficult conversations with people in a calm, empathetic, but factual way. Azmina is this way no matter what she is discussing with someone. She is able to use her wealth of knowledge to signpost people to the most appropriate information or source of support for them, be it male or female. Sex is not a taboo subject.
“When dealing with people affected by cancer, she will go above and beyond what is required of her in her role as a Macmillan Cancer Information Centre Manager. I have known her to frequently stay well after the centre is closed, to provide support for people discussing sensitive subjects, ensuring that they are reassured that their feeling, reactions or needs are normal and should not be minimised.
“In her role, she acts as a bridge between the person with cancer and their clinical teams. Helping people explore questions they may want to ask their Doctors or Nurses, but weren’t sure how to do it. She also provides support for many clinicians, by helping them provide the right information for patients, but also ensuring that they have the confidence to refer someone to her, knowing the high level of support that she provides.”
Respect to Azmina!
More about Azmina
Azmina first became Macmillan Professional in 2017, initially working as the Macmillan Lead for Personalised Cancer Care at the Homerton hospital in East London. Since then, Azmina has gone on to manage Macmillan Information and Support Services at both the North Middlesex hospital and the Royal Free Hospital.
In public speaking, Azmina combines her experience working with some of London’s most diverse cancer patient populations with her own past personal experience of being a minority ethnic colorectal patient. Azmina’s unique dual personal-to-professional perspective and her engaging, empassioned storytelling make her a popular Macmillan media spokesperson: Credits include BBC Radio London (Drivetime and Breakfast), BBC Radio 4 (Woman’s Hour) and a recent 1-hour prostate cancer TV special.
Azmina‘s in-depth knowledge of Cancer Information & Support, and Personalised NHS Cancer Care are regularly showcased at Macmillan national conferences, away days and events. At the 2018 Macmillan Professionals Conference Azmina gave the plenary talk in the keynote session personally chaired by Lynda Thomas. In 2019, Azmina gave the keynote at the Macmillan Corporate Partnership Awards. In the words of a Macmillan Head of Service, “Azmina is our ‘go to’ for insightful, powerful input and memorable, motivating impact.”
Azmina’s personal editorial on stoma formation was published in the British Journal of Surgery and she has co-authored 3 separate ASCO international guidelines in colorectal cancer (early detection, treatment of early-stage colorectal cancer and treatment of late-stage colorectal cancer).
Dr Isabel White
Nominated by Rhea C who said:
“Dr White is an amazing nurse who trained as a psychosexual therapist and who supports both patients and health professionals to have open and meaningful conversations about sex an intimacy.
“Dr White ensures that sex and intimacy after cancer is normalised and addressed in an honest, open and meaningful manner. Dr White has also supported patients via her work with charities such as Pelvic Radiation Disease Association UK. Not only as she improved my skills and knowledge as a heath professional, she has also helped to normalise my personal experiences of sex and intimacy after cancer treatment.”
Isabel, we salute you!
More about Isabel
Isabel White is currently Senior Accredited Psychosexual Therapist AccCOSRT(Sen) at The Edinburgh Practice, and Psychosexual Therapy Lead at Perci Health Ltd. Isabel is a cancer nurse and COSRT (College of Sexual & Relationship Therapists) senior accredited psychosexual therapist. She has focused on understanding how oncology professionals can better support people with treatment related sexual difficulties for over 20 years.
In 2010 she set up the first psychosexual therapy service at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, for people whose sexual lives and intimate relationships had been adversely affected by cancer and its treatment. As a therapist Isabel integrates biomedical, and psychosexual knowledge and skills to offer support and rehabilitation for treatment related sexual difficulties to individuals or couples over 16 years of age.
Isabel works with colleagues in the NHS, private and third sectors and with national and international groups developing clinical guidelines, management pathways and interventions to support sexual adjustment and rehabilitation after cancer. Her current research tests the implementation of a new PROM (patient reported outcome measure) for clinical assessment of sexual difficulties in gynaecological cancer follow-up clinics. She has recently been appointed as psychosexual therapy lead and clinical advisor for Perci Health, a new telemedicine platform offering support for people living with cancer (launch 2021).
Isabel also works regularly with cancer charities on patient-centered programmes and patient led events that focus on improving knowledge, boosting confidence, and breaking down barriers so more people will feel able to talk about the challenges of sex after cancer. These include work with Breast Cancer Now, Teenage Cancer Trust, Maggie’s, Shine Cancer Support and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.