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June 21, 2022

Share Your Story: Tess Deveze

Share Your Story: Tess Deveze

Tess Deveze is an occupational therapist, somatic sexologist, and she is fighting stage three breast cancer. Personally experiencing the severe impacts that treatments have on our intimacy and how this topic is so often ignored, Tess’s goal is to help as many as they can.

  • 02:08: I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer at the age of 36. 
  • 04:17: How big was this lump? 
  • 05:58: What surgeries did you have in terms of lumpectomy or mastectomy?  
  • 07:58: They used my lower back tissue to rebuild a breast and then there were complications. 
  • 10:45: I would show up to my appointments with a list of questions. 
  • 13:33: I had a Facebook group for anyone that wanted to join, and I used to give updates.  
  • 15:46: I also had a GoFundMe. 
  • 17:24: What shifted in your treatment regimen that has given it a much more positive optimistic outlook? 
  • 19:21: I have chronic genital pain, which has been so bad that I haven't been able to walk for like three days at a time. 
  • 22:35: Things like chemo would change completely changed my orgasm experience.  
  • 24:38: I studied semantics sexology while I was on treatments. 
  • 27:45: Sex is this weird thing that we can't talk about.  
  • 29:29: Our primary sexual organ is our brain, but we associate sex with our genitals.  
  • 32:23: I've seen so many women who have gone through menopause and completely lost touch with their sexuality.  
  • 35:15: All these factors contribute to loss of libido. 
  • 37:49: People think they don't have libido, but it’s just that their arousal responses have changed.  
  • 40:38: People also might need a little extra help with what I call intimacy aids.  
  • 42:44: What is one thing you wish you had known at the very beginning of your cancer journey?  
  • 44:05: If you could only do one thing to improve health care in Australia, what would it be and why? 
  • 45:24: I would appreciate for the Australian medical system to acknowledge intimacy as a contributor to quality of life. 
  • 46:56: Thriver Rapid Fire Questions.  
  • 48:22: Aside from Cancer U, what is one resource you would recommend for cancer patients and caregivers? 


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Tess DevèzeProfile Photo

Tess Devèze

Global sexuality and cancer specialist, somatic sexologist, sexuality occupational therapist, cancer survivor, author, public sp

Tess Devèze is a breast cancer survivor, clinical occupational therapist (OT), certified somatic sexologist and the founder of ‘ConnectAble Therapies’, an Australia-based sexuality OT community practice working with people living with cancer, chronic illness and disability. Alongside working as a sexuality OT and somatic sexologist, Tess is a public speaker, educator, created the global support Facebook support group ‘Intimacy and Cancer’ and is the best selling author of ‘A Better Normal; Your Guide To Rediscovering Intimacy After Cancer’. Tess strives to offer support to every single person impacted by cancer on a topic that goes so often ignored, yet is so vital for our wellbeing.