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Sexuality and Reproductive Issues (PDQ®)

Treatment of Sexual Problems in Cancer Patients

Good communication can help you and your partner continue sex after cancer treatment.

You may be afraid or anxious about having sex after cancer treatment. Fear and anxiety can cause you to avoid intimacy, touch, and sexual activity. Your partner may also be afraid and anxious that starting sexual activity will make you feel pressured or cause you pain. Even when a couple has been together a long time, talking about these things is important. Honest communication of feelings, concerns, and preferences can help.

You can learn ways to adapt to changes in sexual function.

Health professionals who specialize in treating sexual problems can give you the names of organizations that offer support. They can also tell you about educational materials such as Internet sources, books, pamphlets, and DVDs. These resources can help you learn ways to adapt to changes in sexual function.

Counseling may make it easier for you to cope with changes in your body and your sex life after cancer.

Sexual counseling may help you. Counseling may be for you alone, with you and your partner, or in a group.

Medical treatments may help improve sexual function.

You may be helped by medical treatments such as hormone replacement, drugs, medical devices, or surgery.

  • Updated: December 9, 2013