LEWISTON — The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing at Central Maine Medical Center will offer a free workshop series with a focus on sexuality and cancer. Melissa Donahue, LCSW, OSW-C, CST, will present “Sexuality and Cancer: Why keep it Under Cover?”

Separate workshops for male and female cancer patients and survivors will be held at CMMC with a focus on the effects of cancer treatment and medication in sexual functioning. There will also be a pair of lunch and learn presentations for oncology care providers, physicians and staff.

The “Sexuality after Cancer” workshop for men will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 12 High Street, conference room H, on the CMMC campus. The workshop for women is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, at 12 High Street , conference rooms A, B and C.

“Addressing Concerns about Sexuality and Intimacy with Cancer Patients” is geared for oncology social workers and other mental and spiritual health providers who work with cancer patients. The session will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, in the Radiation Oncology Conference Room at CMMC. Discussion will include incorporating specific communication skills and screening tools into one’s practice, allowing for an expanded dialogue about the patient as a whole.

Physicians and staff members and encouraged to attend “Sex and Oncology: Why Keep It Undercover?” from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, at 12 High Street in conference rooms A, B and C. Topics will include sexual discussion between physicians, health care team members and their patients and how oncology treatments can interfere with the body’s normal sexual response cycle and how to prepare patients for these changes.

Donahue is an Oncology Social Worker at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J. and maintains a private practice as a certified sex therapist in Ridgewood, N.J. She has been working with oncology patients for more than 10 years and utilizes her skills in both oncology and sex therapy to help her patients overcome concerns within their sexual health.

Preregistration is required for each of the workshops and will be accepted by calling The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing at 795-8250 or 1-877-336-7287. For more information, visit www.dempseycenter.org.

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