Both during and after cancer treatment, you may notice physical and emotional changes that affect how you feel about your body and about sex. This is a common reaction to treatments such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and surgery. You may also feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor or your partner about these changes.
As part of our commitment to support all patients throughout their cancer journey, we offer straightforward information about the many ways cancer can affect sexuality. We can provide private consultation, counseling, and education to help you cope with these changes and find solutions, always with compassion and in strict confidence.
Some problems are temporary, while others may be permanent, but in either case, they can often be managed, with help from the professionals at New England Cancer Specialists.
One of the most common sexual problems for cancer patients is vaginal dryness, which can make intercourse uncomfortable for women. It can often be managed on your own—read or download our informative PDF.
Causes of sexual problems may include:
- Chemotherapy treatments, which can trigger temporary or permanent menopause, among other changes
- Hormonal therapy for prostate cancer
- Surgery or radiation for cancers in the pelvic area
- Physical changes from a mastectomy, colostomy, or other surgical procedure
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Side effects from medications for pain, nausea, depression, or anxiety
- Stress in the relationship
Possible solutions include:
- Changing one's medications for depression or other emotional concerns
- Using lubricants, dilators, or other tools to increase comfort
- Getting more sleep and exercise
- Being open with your partner, if you have one, about sexual issues
- Seeking professional help for fertility and other sexual-health concerns
- For more details on the relationship between cancer and sexual health, a good place to start is Keeping Your Sex Life Going on The American Cancer Society's website.
New England Cancer Specialists' Sexual Health Program is available to all patients, both individuals and couples, inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations. Our services include:
- Sexual rehabilitation counseling for individuals and couples, including coping with menopausal symptoms, erectile dysfunction, discomfort during intercourse, decreased desire, and changes in body image
- Coping with infertility-related distress
- Educational workshops
- Opportunities to get involved with clinical research programs
A team approach, flexible to serve your needs.
Our Sexual Health Program at New England Cancer Specialists offers patients and survivors the expertise of a multidisciplinary team. Patients can start by talking with their regular care team, or can ask to meet with the appropriate specialist in female or male sexual health.
Speak with your care team for more information about this sensitive but important topic, or to make an appointment.