Sexual Health After Cancer Treatment

Sexuality is an important and rewarding part of life. But many cancer survivors experience physical and emotional changes after cancer treatment that may affect how they feel about their sexual health and intimate relationships.

Our supportive care team has the expertise to help.

Common Challenges Faced by Cancer Survivors

Body Image

Cancer treatment may impact your physical and emotional health, from hair loss or weight changes to how you feel about yourself. Some steps you may take to address these challenges include maintaining a healthy diet, practicing relaxation techniques, or looking for ways to focus on what you like about your appearance.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, or difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, affects about half of all men who are cancer survivors. However, medications, assistive devices, counseling, surgery and other approaches may help.


Cancer treatment may affect fertility for men and women. The outcome often depends on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, drugs and dosages, radiation exposure, the extent of surgery, age and genetics. If you’re considering having children in the future, talk to your cancer care team openly and honestly about fertility-preserving approaches.


Intimacy is about how you and your partner stay physically and emotionally connected, which may be difficult during and after cancer treatment. Kindness, affection and respect go a long way toward staying connected. Be sure to communicate openly and to set aside time to spend together.

Loss of Sexual Desire

Loss of libido after cancer treatment is reported by up to 65% of female cancer survivors. This may be related to mental and physical health issues. Communicate with your cancer care team and your partner if you experience these issues.

Pain During Sex

Pain during sex, or dyspareunia, is the most common sexual complaint among female cancer survivors. It can be the result of surgery, radiation or hormone treatments. Talking to your partner, your care team or a sexual health counselor may help.

More Resources for Cancer Survivors