Sex & Cancer


Loss of Libido - It is pretty likely that our sex life will be affected when we get cancer. The diagnosis alone is enough to put us off as fear and sex donít make good bedfellows! If we have to have surgery we often canít have intercourse for some time anyway and probably donít feel much like being sexual. We might lose our libido and feel sexually unattractive, especially if the surgery involves parts of our body that we consider part of our sexual identity.

I had a hysterectomy, so couldnít have intercourse for at least 6 weeks afterwards and to be honest it was a while after that before I felt safe enough to consider it.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy both make people feel tired and lacking in energy and with the other possible physical and emotional side effects, especially with chemotherapy, it would surprise me if many people were feeling like sex much.

Certainly losing my hair didnít do much for my sexual self esteem. I felt pretty unattractive a lot of the time although my partner was very reassuring and still seemed to find me attractive. I think it still can be very hard for women to feel OK when they are bald.

Boosting Our Immune System - Of course if we do feel horny and manage to be sexually active it can be a great boost and those ďfeel goodĒ hormones that get released can do us a power of good and boost the immune system!

Protection - We read in a leaflet about chemotherapy that it is advisable to use protection (condoms presumably) for a few days after chemotherapy treatment, whilst the drugs are still in our bodies to avoid them being passed into our partnerís blood while having intercourse.

I suppose itís important to remember that some people will still feel sexually attractive, maintain libido and an active sex life and some wonít. At least if we can talk to our partner or someone about it if itís causing us problems then it will be more manageable.