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Sex and cancer: The effect of cancer treatment on your sex life

  • Posted on- Jul 06, 2015
  • 6763 Views

Not every cancer patient undergoes changes in sexual desires or how they feel about themselves sexually. Chances are that you won’t notice any changes at all. But you may discover that diagnoses and treatment of cancer affect the way you feel about yourself and having sex. Post treatment, most people feel weak and tired which affects the way they think about sex. But in some cases, people are more than eager to have sex.

Individuals are different in many ways and so are their sexual needs. Therefore, it is impossible to say how cancer will affect a patient’s sexuality and sex life. Some kinds of cancer and treatment may affect your ability to have sex more than others. However, if you are seeing a change in your sexual desires post cancer, it may not be long-lasting. Talk with your partner and doctor, who can ease your concerns. And they may suggest measures to improve your problem.

Having a cancer or its treatment can cause:


If you experience any of the above mentioned feelings, you may not like to have sex. However, you will eventually come out of this phase, once the symptoms are better controlled. For e.g. simple touching can help you feel cared for and reduce any anxiety you may have. You can concentrate on expressing your feelings for your partner in one of the many following ways:
  • Enjoying being close to each other
  • Touching
  • Kissing
  • Massaging
  • Talking
  • Holding hands

Diminishing morale

Cancer and its treatment can affect your self esteem. This may be due to physical changes to your body. Moreover, emotional distress that cancer causes may also lower your self esteem. It can be very difficult to boost your self esteem when you feel so low. But there are many things you can do like talking to someone about your feelings. The person can be the doctor, your friend, family member or a loved one. Talking to someone about your feelings can raise your confidence and self esteem again.

Help and support is all you need

Cancer doesn't just change you physically, it may cause different emotions such as fear, depression and anger which will lead to reduced sexual desires. You might find that you look at the world differently after having cancer. In such scenario, patience is the key. You may find that with little patience your problems with sex after cancer will get better with time. Keep in mind that sexual problems are common, even with those people who don’t have cancer or treated with one.

Taking help from a sexologist or a counselor can help you to find ways of overcoming difficulties. For singles, consulting a sexologist is the way forward. For people in relationships, you can find your own ways or consult a therapist together. Furthermore, there are certain organizations which help you deal with sexual difficulties post cancer.