Sexual Reproductive Health for Couples



What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer occurs when the cells lining the breast lobules or ducts grow abnormally and out of control. A tumour can form in the ducts or lobules of the breast.

Breast Cancer statistics

• Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women, representing 28% of all cancers in women.

• About 14,000 women are diagnosed each year.

• One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85.

• Although it can occur at any age, breast cancer is more common in older women.

• More than two in three (69%) are diagnosed in women aged 40–69. About one in four (25%) are diagnosed in women aged 70 and over.

• Nearly 80% of women diagnosed had invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), while about 11% had invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC).

• About 130 men are diagnosed in Australia each year. This represents less than 1% of all breast cancers.


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with one out of every 11 women in NSW affected at some stage in their life. The biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman, and being over 50


Or Contact  Cancer Council NSW for more information on 13 11 20


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

PCOS is a common disorder thought to affect around 10% of Australian women of reproductive age. It disrupts the ovulation and menstrual cycle, has distressing symptoms and places women at increased risk of complications including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and endometrial cancer.

In women with PCOS the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH), which are released by the pituitary gland, are out of balance. Because FSH and LH control the release of oestrogen, androgens and progesterone from the ovaries, sufferers show symptoms of high androgens (male hormones) levels such as acne, excess facial and body hair (hirsutism) and male pattern baldness (alopecia). These unbalanced hormone levels are also associated with disrupted follicle development and ovulation.

It is a complex condition that is difficult to diagnose, up to 70% of women with PCOS remain undiagnosed

Polycystic Ovaries (PCO) or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovaries (PCO) are ovaries that have lots of little cysts on the outside. The cysts are actually follicles that have not grown properly to release their eggs during ovulation. All women who suffer from PCOS have polycystic ovaries but not all women with polycystic ovaries have PCOS. In fact it is estimated that 20% of women have polycystic ovaries at some point in their lives whilst PCOS is thought to affect around 10% of women.

 Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can’t be cured, but you and your doctor can manage many of the symptoms.

 Where to get help

• Your doctor

• Gynaecologist especially for fertility issues

• Endocrinologist for hormonal issues

• Local women’s health clinic

• Community health centre


1. Polycystic ovary syndrome An update Volume 41, No.10, October 2012 Pages 752-756


2 . Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)



What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects a woman’s reproductive organs. It happens when the lining cells (called the endometrium) of the uterus grow outside of it. Often it is found on and around the pelvic and abdominal organs, including the ovaries. Rarely, the endometrial tissue is found in other parts of the body. Studies suggest that it affects 5 – 10 % of menstruating women in Australia (1)

Common parts of the pelvis where endometriosis is found :

• On the ovaries.  Endometriosis may cause cysts full of dark fluid, called ‘chocolate cysts’.

• On or around the uterus, or behind it.

• Near or on the fallopian tubes.

• On the bladder and the bowel, or rarely other parts of the body.

What effects can endometriosis have?

Endometriosis can affect women in a number of ways.  The most common effect is pain.  This pain is usually felt in the pelvis, and may be felt as a ‘deep, nagging pain.’  The pain is sometimes worsened during or after sex.  The pain often occurs in a cycle, often just before or at the start of the menstrual period. 

Another effect is to make becoming pregnant more difficult.  Sometimes, women with endometriosis experience spotting or discharge just before a period starts, or possibly have a heavier period than usual. 

Some women with endometriosis will have no symptoms at all, or do not recognize their symptoms (2). There are many ways in which endometriosis can affect a woman's fertility. Scar tissue and adhesions might affect the movement of eggs and sperm or the ability of a fertilised egg to implant successfully. And of course some women may be avoiding regular sexual intercourse if it is painful 

Although endometriosis is associated with infertility (approximately one third of women being investigated for infertility are diagnosed with the condition ), many women with endometriosis can, and do, fall pregnant easily. It is therefore important for women diagnosed with endometriosis to continue to use contraception if they are not seeking to fall pregnant (1)


1. Women’s Health Queensland Wide Endometriosis fact sheet

2.The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – Endometriosis


What is Testicular Cancer?

Cancer that develops in a testicle is called testicular cancer or cancer of the testis. Usually only one testicle is affected, but in some cases both testicles are affected. Most testicular cancers start in the cells that develop into sperm, which are called germ cells.

Sometimes testicular cancer can spread to lymph nodes in and around the testicles and abdomen, or to other parts of the body.

Testicular cancer statistics

About 740 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year, accounting for about 1% of all cancers in Australian men. It occurs most often in men aged 20–40 years, and the average age at diagnosis is 35.


Or Contact  Cancer Council NSW- Cancer Information and Support 131120


Cancer of the Cervix

Cancer of the cervix (the neck of the womb) is one of the most preventable cancers.

Finding cervical cancer early

The best way to lessen your likelihood of developing cervical cancer is to have regular Pap tests. This simple test can pick up early changes to the cervix that can be treated before cancer develops. All women who have ever had sex should have a Pap test every two years, or more often if their doctor advises.

Reducing your risk of Cervical Cancer

The exact cause of cervical cancer isn’t known but some forms of the human papillomavirus (HPV) or genital wart virus have been linked to cervical cancer.

A vaccine is now available that protects women from the HPV types responsible for 70% of cervical cancers. The vaccine is offered free to girls and boys aged 12-13 years through a school-based national vaccination program. Between 2013 and 2014 there will also be a catch-up vaccination offered to boys in Year 9.

The vaccine doesn’t prevent all cervical cancers so it’s important for all women to have regular Pap tests.

Smoking produces chemical that may damage the cell of the cervix and make cancer more likely to develop. Quitting smoking, or better still never starting, will reduce your risk of cervical cancer.



Sexually Transmissible Infections

STI (Sexually Transmissible Infections) are passed on through sexual contact or the exchange of body fluids.

Many people who have an STI don’t have any obvious symptoms or signs. So it’s important you get the facts about how they are spread and always have safe sex.

Like other infections or diseases, STI are caused by the spread of organisms like bacteria, viruses or parasites.

Chlamydia is the most common reported STI among young people in Australia. It can affect both males and females and is caused by a type of bacteria. 

Gonorrhoea is caused by a type of bacteria and it can affect both males and females. It is the second most commonly reported STI in Australia.

Syphilis is caused by a type of bacteria and can affect both males and females.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). HIV damages the immune system leading to serious infections. Reported HIV cases have begun to increase in recent years.

HPV is one of the most common STI in Australia. HPV is a group of viruses that cause warts. There are over 100 types with some causing the common warts found on hands and feet, while others are responsible for genital warts. It affects                both males and females.

• There are two types of herpes, which cause small, painful blisters. One causes cold sores and is spread through kissing. The other mainly causes genital sores and is spread through sexual contact.


If left untreated STI can lead to serious and painful health consequences, ranging from infertility to cancer.

For example, chlamydia can cause PID and infertility; and HPV can cause cancer.

Further information is available about the most common STI. You may not even know you have one.










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