Why does the justASKus project exist?

How it all began…

The ASK Clinic was launched at the end of 2017; it is the first follow-up clinic in Switzerland for adolescents and young adults affected by cancer focussing on the topics of body image, sexuality and fertility and it aims to close an important gap in care.


How did it come about?

As a fertility specialist, Astrid Ahler spent many years at the University Hospital Basel/University Children’s Hospital Basel (UKBB) advising children, adolescents and adults with cancer on preserving their fertility (in other words freezing egg or sperm cells, or ovarian or testicular tissue) and treated many patients in the fertility clinic after the end of their therapy. Even if a physician mentions that a particular therapy can in some cases cause a restriction or even loss of fertility, the mounds of information patients receive about their therapy often result in this information being forgotten or not currently being seen as relevant in face of the reading now required and the important decisions to be made. The problem is that the topic is rarely given a fixed place in the context of follow-up care and so the opportunity to freeze eggs or sperm, which might still be possible after therapy, is missed. But before you can actually start thinking about wanting a family at all, you first have to get involved in a romantic and intimate relationship, and that is something young cancer survivors often find difficult. The illness itself and the therapies change your body. That can be hard to cope with and feeling good about yourself again can be a chore. Especially during puberty, dealing with the intense physical changes, first sexual experiences and intimacy is generally difficult, and the feeling of being inadequate for yourself and others is made even worse because you are isolated from your peers and thus lack important opportunities for exchange. Even though follow-up care focuses on the body, hardly anyone asks how you feel in your body and how you can make peace with yourself again. Together with Tamara Diesch, senior physician in oncology and hematology at the University Children’s Hospital Basel (UKBB), Astrid Ahler founded the ASK Clinic and got other colleagues on board who all share a passion for holistic care for people affected by cancer.

But that’s not enough! Extending the justASKus project:

The services provided were very well received and initially most patients came to the clinic with questions about fertility. The vast majority also had questions about how to deal with the changes they were experiencing in their bodies, how they could feel good about themselves again and about the right way to start dealing with sexuality and living a fulfilled sexual life. But the clinic got off to a sluggish start and it was difficult to publicise the services and reach those affected by cancer. Apart from the coronavirus pandemic, there was the additional problem of patients finding it difficult to get to Basel or Olten. And so it became obvious that we had to do more! We worked on how to extend our concept and decided to create an easily accessible platform offering information and also the opportunity to swap stories with other cancer patients so we could at least provide general answers. In the case of the recurrent topic of how patients could feel at home again in their bodies, we decided a body-based approach would be helpful, with experiences of feeling, discovering and trusting the body again. This is all the more effective when it is experienced together and so we developed the idea of offering workshops. Furthermore, it became clear that we needed to train local health care workers in talking about the sensitive topics as body image and sexuality so we would have more people available for those affected by cancer both during and after therapy, people who would be able to answer their questions. In September 2021, the Basel Region Childhood Cancer Foundation, Regio basiliensis, approved financial support for our project and we were thus able to start turning our vision into reality. In order to integrate as many points of view as possible in the design of our project and thus meet the needs of adolescents and young adults affected by cancer as well as possible, we put together an interdisciplinary team with representatives from various areas of care for those affected by cancer as well as one survivor, and, in December 2021, we founded the justASKus association.

How a therapy can solve your problem?

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation.
  • Find solutions instead of complaining
  • Practice letting go
  • Let beauty in
Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the.

What do we offer?

Platform for your questions:

You have some questions on your mind, questions that have been bothering you for some time and you have not plucked up the courage to ask them or you haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so?...

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ASK Clinic

You have questions or issues you would rather talk about personally or would like advice and/or testing about your fertility? Whatever your issue, we look forward to seeing you personally at our ASK Clinic. You can come to us with questions about lots of different things,...

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We see our website as an interactive platform that gives you the opportunity to first have a look round, read answers to frequently asked questions and generally find out about the services we offer. The website lives from your input and is...

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Sometimes it is simply not enough “just” to get information or advice, you need to actually feel and experience it before something can change. It is important for you to regain confidence, particularly when it comes to feeling at home...

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