Intimacy After Cancer- All Your Questions Answered

It’s like a rebellion movement in the body. There is an uprising of abnormal cells that slowly create an entire army of the malignant cells and Voila! A war is waged against life in no time. 

Cancer is painful. Not because it silently paves the way towards the end but it coerces the sufferer to live like not living at all while still having the chances of recovering. While dealing with a medical condition like this, the patient, knowingly or unknowingly, has to retreat from many things that are essential and in fact are a way of living. One such thing is intimacy. 

Intimacy after cancer or during cancer suffers a great deal. The factors that impinge the sexual activity of the body after the disease can range from biological to psychological. In either case, most of these sexual dysfunctions are curable. 

Sexual Changes During Cancer

  • Decreased or no vaginal lubrication in females due to radiotherapy or medicinal treatment
  • Difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection in sufferers of prostate cancer
  • Shedding of pubic hair
  • Decreased libido in females due to estrogen-blocking drugs
  • Flattened boobs and ailing vagina in females
  • Early orgasm in men and painful intercourse 

Some of the cancers that have the highest chance of leaving you struggling with intimacy are-

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Pelvic Cancer
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer

Reasons For Fractured Intimacy After Cancer

Biological reasons for decreased libido and dysfunctioning of sexual organs can be the outcome of certain cancer side-effects like-

  • Fatigue 
  • Breathing problem 
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mouth disorders
  • Scarring
  • Hormonal changes 

Psychologically speaking, cancer patients or survivors develop certain bodily changes like weight loss, scars, loss of stamina, hair fall, baldness, burns of radiotherapy, etc. that significantly degrade their confidence. All such factors create insecurity and decrease morale which in turn results in reduced sex drive. 

However, in the absence of sex, there are still many ways to make yourself and your partner comfortable in the mutual intimate zone. Cuddling, kissing, holding hands, talking at stretch about life, and making each other feel special through surprises and dates is not only a beautiful substitute to sexual intercourse but it also helps to define relationship above just physical connection. 

Tags: Intimacy During Chemotherapy, Physical Contact During Chemotherapy, Staying Healthy After Cancer Treatment, Can Cancer Be Transmitted Sexually

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.