Cancer and cancer treatments can have an impact on your sexuality, intimacy with your partner, and quality of life. Even if you don’t consider it a priority right now, prevention and early treatment of sexual health issues are vital to your physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.  

From cancer diagnosis through treatment and survivorship, our specialists will provide you with the resources and support to help you make informed decisions about your sexual health care. 

Common problems 

Both physical and emotional intimacy are important for your sexual health and the health of your relationship. Cancer and cancer treatment can affect the way we see ourselves as sexual beings, changing the way we express physical and emotional intimacy. This may include: 

  • Changes in energy levels and desire for sexual activity 
  • Body image and confidence issues 
  • Changes in roles and responsibilities within a relationship  
  • Difficulty feeling emotionally connected to your partner 
  • Changes in your body and sexual function 
  • Pain or discomfort during sex 
  • Difficulty ejaculating or keeping an erection  
  • Vaginal dryness or changes in orgasm 

While some of these problems may resolve after treatment, there is a chance some may be long-lasting or permanent. Open and honest communication with your partner is the first step to feeling better and more connected about your changes in intimacy and sexual health. 

Questions for your doctor 

  • How will cancer and cancer treatment affect my sex life? 
  • What should I do to lessen the negative impact cancer can have on my sexual functioning? 
  • Is it safe to have sex during cancer treatment? 
  • What changes to my sexual health should I expect, and when should I notify my care team? 
  • What long-term side effects can I expect from my treatment?  
  • What resources are available to help me navigate changes to my sexual health and intimacy?  


If you are experiencing any issues related to your sexual health, please talk to your care team. They can help you find the experts or resources you need, including: 

  • Psychologists, social workers, and counselors, including marital and spiritual counseling 
  • OBGYNs and fertility specialists 
  • Urologists 
  • Sex therapists  
  • Physical therapy 
  • Support groups