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Talking about your sexuality during cancer by Oncovia

Sexuality and Cancer

Cancer treatments can have consequences on your sexuality and its functions. For many people sexuality is a personal subject that is hard to talk about openly, therefore this may not be a primary focus.


Sexuality is part of our everyday life; it represents more than just the act of sex or reproduction. Sexuality includes our need for closeness, intimacy, caring and pleasure, as well as our sex drive, sexual identity and preferences.

Sexuality and cancer

Many cancer treatments will affect fertility and sexuality. They can also affect your partner and your relationships. Fatigue, dryness of the skin and mucous membranes, loss of desire, these are just some of the factors that will influence and reduce your sexual drive. It is important to keep in mind that pleasure and satisfaction are possible, even if some aspects of your sexuality have changed.

How to boost your self esteem?

First of all, remind yourself about your good qualities. Even though some women will not wear anything on their head when they experience hair loss, many of them will feel more comfortable wearing a wig, hat or a head scarf. You may also wear a breast form (prosthesis) if you have had a breast removed. You can find elegant bras and sexy nighties that will allow you to wear your breast forms at night.

For those experiencing vaginal dryness we recommend the use of a natural lubricant.

Who to turn to?

Sexual concerns may be difficult to bring up as you may feel uncomfortable and you sense that those surrounding you feel uncomfortable too. If you are in a relationship communication is the key, as this will allow you and your partner to find a new balance. You can develop new strategies with your partner to manage sexuality and intimacy. For example, you can plan “dates” and make an effort to treat each other like people on a date.

Some couples will never feel that the disease deteriorates their relationships. For others this may turn out to be more difficult, in this case, talking to a professional is necessary. If your health professional does not bring up the subject, it is perfectly okay for you to ask questions. You can ask more precise questions to your gynecologist, sexologist or a psychologist. They will help you find the causes and treat them, while taking into account your intimate life before the illness.


Cancer will affect your fertility depending on the type of treatment you get and the gravity of the cancer. It is crucial to get closer to your doctor as soon as possible to find out if there are any possible ways to protect your fertility before and during the treatment. After the treatment the options are limited.

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