Questions for your doctor about sexuality

Some people find it difficult to bring up the topic of sexuality with their health professionals. You may find this checklist helpful when thinking about how to get the conversation started.

If your doctor seems reluctant to talk about the issues, ask for a referral to someone who can more freely discuss sexual matters with you.

Learn more about helpful questions for:


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Men and women

  • How will this treatment affect me sexually?
  • What can be done to preserve sexual functioning and pleasure?
  • How will this treatment affect my hormones?
  • Will this treatment affect my fertility? What can I do about it?
  • What changes are likely in the short term and longer term?
  • Are any changes permanent?
  • If the changes are temporary, how long will I experience them?
  • What treatment options are available to help with sexual issues after cancer?
  • When is it safe to have sex again?
  • When can I expect to feel like, or enjoy, having sex or being
    intimate again?
  • How soon can I masturbate, have oral sex or sexual intercourse?
  • What sort of problems might we experience during intercourse?
  • It hurts when we have intercourse. What can we do about this?
  • Should we take any precautions when having sex?
  • What kind of contraception should I use and for how long?
  • If I’ve had a sexually transmitted infection, will it come back with chemotherapy?
  • Can I have children?
  • I am having trouble feeling confident about my body and reaching orgasm. Will it always be like this?
  • I’m afraid I can’t satisfy my partner any more. What can I do?
  • Sex doesn’t feel the same as it used to. What can I do?
  • Is there anything I should be careful about when I have sex?
  • Will the cancer come back if I have sex?
  • Can I give cancer to my partner if we have sex?
  • Are there any complementary therapies I could try? Are there any over-the-counter products I should avoid?
  • Can you refer me to a sexual therapist?

Men only

  • Why can’t I get an erection?
  • How long will it be before I can get an erection again?
  • What are the options if I can’t get an erection?
  • Why don’t I ejaculate anymore?

Women only

  • Will I still experience the same sexual sensations after having
    this treatment?
  • Would hormone replacement therapy be necessary or beneficial?
  • I have vaginal dryness. What do you recommend?
  • Is it safe to use an oestrogen cream?
  • How can I stretch my vagina?
  • How can I manage the symptoms of menopause?

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Sexuality, Intimacy and Cancer.


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in May 2016
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Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Rekindle – relationships after cancer
Personalised online resource addressing sexual concerns for all adults, whether in a relationship or single

 

Cancer information

Understanding your rights as a patient
What you can reasonably expect of your health professionals

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

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