Prostate cancer

Sexual concerns

Prostate cancer

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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.

Prostate cancer and sexual concerns

Sexual difficulties men may face when they have prostate cancer or undergo treatment include:

  • inability to gain or maintain an erection
  • decrease in sexual desire
  • ‘dry’ orgasms
  • pain during an orgasm
  • leaking urine when having an orgasm
  • infertility
  • change in the size of the penis.

Changes in sexual function can be very distressing. There is help available at the Cancer Council 13 11 20, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia 1800 220 099, Impotence Australia 1800 800 614 or Andrology Australia 1300 303 878.

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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