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Does cancer cause sexual problems?

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It is always a shock for people to be told that they have cancer or any other serious illness.  Their lives are suddenly dominated by medical examinations and treatment and quite naturally, all of their attention is focused on the disease.  In this frightening situation, it’s not unusual for sex to take a back seat for a time. But after a while, when the patient has gathered enough strength to look forward and to take an interest in good health and a normal life once again, they will almost certainly rediscover an interest in sex. It makes no difference whether the disease has resulted in a disability or whether the patient is perfectly fit physically. But it may be hard to resume sex.

Can it be dangerous to have sex when you have cancer?

Unless the cancer affects the genital area, there is usually no reason why the patient should not have sex.  It is a good idea for cancer patients to discuss with their doctor whether or not they can have sex. If possible, this question should be raised early in the illness before any potential operation or complicated medical treatment such as chemotherapy has begun. Unfortunately, it has to be said that not all doctors are comfortable talking about this subject. Sometimes a nurse is a better person to chat to, or a counselor. It is extremely important that patients are kept well informed about their illness and its immediate consequences in the short term and in the long term. They will want to know what impact it will have on every aspect of their life, including their sex life. For instance, people need to know whether the treatment will have any effect on their sexual function or fertility.

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