Cancer itself and treatments for cancer can cause a variety of side effects, including some related to sexuality and intimacy. Treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation can have a direct, and sometimes long-lasting, impact on sexual function and fertility. They can affect how you feel physically, emotionally, and how you feel about your body image. Sexuality and intimacy affects your quality of life. If you are experiencing side effects since your diagnosis or treatment, it is important to seek help. Let your health care team know about any side effects you experience.
Several physical side effects you may experience during and after your cancer treatment include low energy, pain during sex, erectile dysfunction (trouble getting or keeping an erection), and difficulty with ejaculation (such as premature ejaculation, dry orgasm, or passing urine during orgasm).
There are also emotional side effects that can further impact sexual function, such as fear of recurrence, feeling sad, anxious, or angry, fear of intimacy or embarrassment, and concern about body image.
It is important to understand the ways cancer treatments can impact sexual health and what can be done to alleviate these issues.
Many problems that affect a man’s sexual activity during treatment are temporary and improve once treatment has ended. Other side effects may be long-term or may start after treatment.
Talk to your doctor about side effects you may have based on your treatment(s):
Health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking, can also contribute to changes in your sexual health.
Adapted from National Cancer Institute, Sexual Health Issues in Men with Cancer
Our team of psychiatrists, licensed therapists, oncology social workers and psychiatric nurses are available to provide you with coping strategies, support and education, medicine management and counseling services.
Licensed, highly trained professionals are available to provide evaluation, education, and personalized rehabilitation counseling for patients who have experienced changes in sexual health during and after cancer treatment.
A dedicated team of professionals made up of nurses and patient advocates are available to help guide you through your treatment, provide access to Northside Hospital services and address potential barriers to care.
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