Sexual Difficulties

Key Points

  • Sexual problems are relatively common among people with cancer and can negatively affect your and your intimate partner’s quality of life.
  • No matter your age, your sexuality is important and worthy of your and your healthcare team’s attention.
  • If problems arise, let your healthcare team know.
  • In addition to conventional interventions for sexual problems, complementary therapies and lifestyle practices may also help.

“Altered sexuality” is a top concern of people with cancer, yet one that is seldom addressed up front by the oncology team. Many people are embarrassed to bring up the topic with their doctors. However, sexual problems are relatively common among people with cancer and can negatively affect your and your intimate partner’s quality of life. Physical touch and closeness, with or without lovemaking, can be one of the greatest comforts during the difficulties of cancer. No matter your age, your sexuality is important and worthy of your and your healthcare team’s attention.

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Talking about your sexual function with your healthcare team even before there is a problem is key, as some potential problems—such as fertility or potential nerve damage—should be considered before treatment.

Managing Sexual Difficulties

In addition to conventional interventions for sexual problems, complementary therapies and lifestyle practices may also help:

Integrative Plans, Protocols and Medical Systems

For more information about plans and protocols, see our Integrative Plans and Protocols page.

 Written by Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS, and reviewed by Nancy Hepp, MS; most recent update on October 19, 2018.

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