The Effects of Cancer on Sexual Health

By Cancer Foundation on February 11 / 2019

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Couple in love holding hands. Love and friendship concept

For many patients, the impact of cancer on sexual health can last for years. Depending on the type of cancer a person is facing, the surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments they experience, in addition to the physical and mental health concerns associated with the cancer itself, can be significant.

Both men and women report struggling with their sexual health during and after cancer treatment, in surprising numbers. Up to 45% of men facing prostate cancer and 49% of women facing different types of cancer struggle with issues like negative body image, loss of sexual desire, and physical symptoms like vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, or urinary and bowel dysfunction.

When someone is struggling with their sexual health throughout their cancer journey, a Cancer Coach can help them create a strategy to address their needs, or can help them learn more about treatments that help some of the sexual side effects they are experiencing. According to Patti Barrett-Robillard, a Cancer Coach here at the Cancer Foundation, there are a number of medications, creams, and devices a person can use, as well as special services throughout the community to help them improve their sexual health and well being.

Since today marks the beginning of Sexual Health and Reproductive Awareness Week in Canada, we asked Patti to speak to the challenges cancer patients can face in these areas, including everything from physical symptoms to the stigma someone can feel when discussing the way cancer has impacted their relationships. Check out the video below to find out how Cancer Coaches work with their clients to help them address concerns related to sexual health, and reach out to us at 613-247-3527 or on this web page if you’d like to meet with a Cancer Coach in person!

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