General cancer information

Sexual concerns

General cancer information

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Sexual concerns are common after cancer diagnosis and treatment. These can include physical changes, feeling less desirable or losing interest in sex.

If you have any of these problems, there are services that can help.

Sexual concerns when you have cancer

There are several things related to cancer diagnosis and treatment that can cause sexual concerns.

These include:

  • physical changes
  • emotional changes
  • problems with intimacy
  • lower libido
  • changes to body image
  • fertility problems.

Dealing with sexual concerns

Everyone’s situation is different and sexual concerns affect some people more than others. It depends on whether you are sexually active, and whether you are in a relationship.

Even if you are having problems with sex, you may still be able to enjoy an intimate relationship. Being intimate with someone involves being physically and emotionally close to them. It is possible to have an intimate relationship without having sex.

Your sexual health is important but can be difficult to discuss with your doctor or nurse. It may be easier to talk to a social worker or counsellor, who can provide you with information and help. 

If you are sexually active during your treatment, talk to your doctor or nurse about what precautions to use. Many cancer treatments can harm an unborn child so you need to avoid pregnancy.

Where to get help

There are people you can talk to for more information or support.

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