New Sexual Health Program to Benefit Female Cancer Survivors

June 12, 2018 | ,

Online support group provides resources for sexual functioning and quality of life

Toronto, ON –  de Souza Institute, a national education and research centre specializing in oncology has been selected to receive a $75,000 grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program. Through the Cancer Chat Canada platform de Souza Institute will launch an essential online therapist led psychosocial group focusing on improving sexual functioning and quality of life for women with breast, ovarian or other forms of gynaecological cancer.

“Cancer survivors have on-going difficulties related to intimacy, sexual dysfunction and body image distress. Despite evidence of the debilitating nature of these problems, they are mostly unaddressed, in part due to a lack of expertise among healthcare providers and hesitancy among women to raise them”, said Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, Executive Director of de Souza Institute. “Our online support group Re-storing Sensual and Sexual Self (ReSASS) now makes it possible for women across Canada to access expert psychosocial care in the comfort and privacy of their own home.”

“We are pleased to provide a grant to de Souza Institute,” says David Fowler, vice president of marketing and communications at CIRA. “This program, and others we’ve funded, use the vast reach and power of the internet to change lives for the better, something we at CIRA believe in.”

The topic of sexual dysfunction is typically unspoken, highly personal and sensitive.  Moreover, limited specialized services have made it difficult for women to get the support they need. The launch of ReSASS and the generous funding from CIRA’s Community Investment Program greatly enhances access to psychological services for female cancer survivors, especially for those living with disease related disabilities and or those who live in rural and remote areas.

About de Souza Institute

Established in 2008, de Souza Institute is a part of the University Health Network and partners with provincial cancer agencies across Canada. It was originally funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to provide ongoing educational support, professional development and career counseling to health care professionals caring for cancer patients and families. de Souza Institute is providing cancer care excellence by: delivering innovative continuing education and mentorship programs; helping nurses to achieve national specialty certification; funding graduate scholarships to develop tomorrow’s leaders, and supporting in self-care and career development among health care professionals. To learn more about de Souza Institute visit

About CIRA and the Community Investment Program

CIRA is building a better online Canada through the Community Investment Program by funding charities, not-for-profits and members of the academic community who are making the Internet better for all Canadians. CIRA is best known for our role managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. While this remains our primary mandate, as a member-based not-for-profit ourselves, we have a much broader goal to strengthen Canada’s Internet. The Community Investment Program is one of our most valuable contributions toward this goal and funds projects in digital literacy, online services, research and infrastructure. Every .CA domain name registered or renewed contributes to this program. To date CIRA has contributed $5.45 million in Community Investment Program grants.

To view the complete list of 2018 grant recipients click here.