- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Sexuality, intimacy and cancer
- Questions for your doctor about sexuality
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:
- Will this treatment affect my sexuality?
- 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 to be temporary? How long are they likely to last? Are any changes likely to be permanent?
- 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?
- 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 we use and for how long?
- If I’ve had a sexually transmitted infection, will it come back with chemotherapy?
- 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 sex therapist?
- Will I still experience the same sexual sensations after having this treatment?
- Will 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?
- I want to have sex but I have no sexual thoughts and find it hard to feel aroused. What can I do?
- Why can’t I get an erection? Will this be temporary?
- What are the options if I can’t get an erection?
- Why don’t I ejaculate anymore?
- What can I do if I have pain during sex or when I get an erection?
- I want to have sex but I have no arousal or sexual thoughts. What can I do?
Helena Green, Clinical Sexologist and Counsellor, inSync for Life, WA; Anita Brown-Major, Occupational Therapist, Thrive Rehab, VIC; Karina Campbell, Consumer; Nicole Kinnane, Nurse Consultant, Gynae-oncology Services, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Headway Health and Concord Hospital, NSW; Chris Rivett, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Kath Schubach, Urology Nurse Practitioner, President – Australia and New Zealand Urological Nurses Society (ANZUNS), VIC; Prof Jane Ussher, Chair, Women’s Health Psychology, Translational Health Research Institute (THRI), School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, NSW; Maria Voukelatos, Consumer. We would also like to thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.