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Talking about sex can be a sensitive topic. It is important, however, to discuss how cancer and cancer treatment can affect sexuality and how to treat issues that may develop. It may help to write down your questions before you see your doctor. Here are some questions to get you started.
More cancer patients in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Cancer Institute, where they find sophisticated expertise, including access to innovative clinical trials, and a commitment to treating the whole person — not just the cancer.
Cancer and cancer treatments can bring on sexual health changes, many of which can be treated.
Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or hormone-blocking treatments can trigger menopause in cancer patients. This can cause infertility and also cause symptoms that can affect sexual health.
Many symptoms of menopause can affect sexual health, such as:
Reduced sex drive is a very common concern after cancer treatment. Contributing factors can include biological, psychological, social and cultural causes.
Treatments for low desire include:
Two medications, flibanserin and bremelanotide are approved to improve sexual desire in women, although they have not been studied in cancer patients.
Painful intercourse after cancer treatment is a common issue and can be treated. There are several reasons a person may have pain with sex after cancer treatment.
Body image involves your perception, thoughts, behaviors and emotions related to your body. It is more than just physical appearance. Cancer and cancer treatment can cause physical changes such as loss of a body part, hair loss, weight changes and scarring that affect body image. Many of these changes may be linked to how one views sexuality.
Body image concerns are common after cancer treatment and can come up at different times.
Ways to address body image concerns:
If vaginal moisturizers and lubricants don’t work for you, or you have more severe vaginal dryness or pain, talk to your cancer care provider. Vaginal moisturizers and lubricants serve different purposes.
Moisturizers help treat dryness and improve vaginal tissue. They should be used regularly — at least three times a week at bedtime. Moisturizers often are oil-based.
Lubricants work to reduce friction or pain caused by rubbing against dry and thin vaginal tissue. Lubricants can be oil-based, water-based or silicone-based.
More patients in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Cancer Institute than any other provider in the area. We provide compassionate care for the whole person, not just the cancer.
Our Norton Cancer Institute oncologists are also researchers and principal investigators, offering patients sophisticated experience in the latest treatments and access to more than 200 clinical trials.
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