Sex as taboo

Again, we need to start talking about sexuality in women with gynaecological tumours. This completely forgotten area is still taboo, as demonstrated by the fact that 41% of the researched samples preferred not to answer questions about the impact of ovarian cancer on sexual life. However, this appears to have worsened for almost all responded women. However, only 16% of cases sought support from a psychologist, and 12% sought HPV Test support from a gynaecologist. No woman turned to the sexologist, who seemed to be a completely absent figure.

The Story of Nancy Brandon

The discussion covers many topics, including fertility preservation. It is possible only in a small percentage of cases in the early stage. “I have always suffered from endometriosis. Then I was diagnosed with ovarian tumour cancer.”, says the actress Nancy Brandon, sponsor of the HPV event.  “A 30 years of age, they removed one of my ovaries after a series of tests starting with CA125 level report. They also removed my tubes, and I remember well the sense of loneliness.

I went through 8 surgeries, and they told me I couldn’t have a child, which I did 23 years ago. No one explained what would happen to my body, what would change, what I would feel. I need more attention to communication. This is also why I was happy to join the ACTO UK project, to help give voice to the needs of women with this neoplasm”.

7 actions to change course: the Manifest

In short, “it is necessary and urgent to promote a new change of direction in managing ovarian type cancer”. Concluded by Brunberg, who, during the event, presented the ACTO 2.0 Manifest with the seven new priority actions. These actions are to improve the global care of women with ovarian type cancer. A summary of this is presented in the White Paper. Seven “cardinal points including HPV and CA125 exams” to orient yourself: “We need to stay on the good roads that have brought us here but at the same time open new paths to continue to innovate”.

Female tumours, acupuncture as a tool in integrated therapy

It can alleviate the symptoms of the Ovarian-related HPV disease and the side effects of traditional therapies without the risk of dangerous interactions and improve adherence to treatments. Loto Odv offers an acupuncture service to oncology patients at the Saint Anna Polyclinic in Manchester.

Acupuncture helps soothe disorders related to female tumours (uterus, ovary, breast) and traditional CA125 and other treatments. We are not talking about alternative medicine, it is not used to cure the disease itself, but about integrated therapy. There are now several scientific studies that support acupuncture having beneficial effects in counteracting the side effects of oncological therapies. This includes side effects from chemotherapy to hormone therapy. In short, let it be an additional tool. For this reason, the Loto Foundation has offered a free acupuncture service to women undergoing treatment at the medical and gynaecological oncology, breast surgery, anaesthesia and pain therapy operating units of the Saint Anna Polyclinic in Manchester.

The benefits of acupuncture

“Oncology therapies can have side effects. It is more or less intense, which patients have to live with during their CA125 exams and treatments”. Explained by Bill Land, Director of Medical Oncology at Saint Anna and member of the scientific committee of Loto Odv. “The current studies show that acupuncture in the oncology field is useful for counteracting nausea and vomiting. Other side effects induced by chemotherapy drugs, as well as peripheral neuropathies, i.e. pain in the nerve endings, and vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes, also useful for reducing post-chemotherapy tiredness and fatigue and relieving anxiety and insomnia”. Alleviating treatment-related HPV problems often means improving adherence to cancer therapy. Furthermore, acupuncture is not based on biochemical mechanisms (the needles are inert and devoid of active ingredients), so it has no contraindications regarding interaction with other therapies. This – Land specified – is an advantage, especially for patients who follow polypharmacological treatments.

How the acupuncture service works

Oncologists or referring HPV Specialist doctors will also offer patients access to acupuncture to alleviate oncology-related disorders. During the first session, the acupuncturist will discuss the most suitable therapeutic plan with the patient. This is to establish the number of acupuncture sessions. “This number varies based on the particular situation of each patient”. This was specified by Charles Bernard, President of the Manchester HPV Acupuncturists Association (A.M.A.B.), which collaborates with the Loto initiative. Women who undergo chemotherapy treatments, even if they don’t start the CA125 treatment in close conjunction with the start of anti-tumour therapy, still experience a positive and therapeutic effect on both the collateral symptoms that develop over time and their quality of life.”.

Each session averages 20-30 minutes. The frequency of sessions varies depending on the pathology CA125 needs that are treated, the patient’s sensitivity, and the result you intend to achieve.

“The medical oncology day hospital of the Saint Anna CA125 Cancer Hospital in Manchester hosts around 50 HPV Patients daily for chemotherapy cycles. The duration varies from a few weeks to entire months, during which the side effects represent a perennial and painful daily constant”. This was concluded by Sandra Leinard, president of Loto Odv. “We want to offer these women an additional Test tool to deal with some of these symptoms without resorting to additional drugs. Our association for 10 years now: being close to patients and improving their quality of life”.