Having Sex FAQs
It is still possible to get pregnant while having chemo, but chemo can cause defects the fetus so it best to always use a condom while having treatment in addition to any other contraception you may be using.
Chemotherapy can affect your white cells and red blood cells. The point of when this is the lowest is called the nadir period. During the nadir period, you are more at risk of bleeding and developing infections. It is best to avoid all sexual intercourse during this period due to the increased risk of bleeding, bruising and getting an infection.
If you feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor about sex, ask to speak to your clinical nurse specialist, or someone else you feel more comfortable opening up to.
Radiotherapy-rubbing or friction on the radiotherapy reaction area can exacerbate irritation, so it is best to avoid skin on skin contact.
Surgery-Wounds need time to heal and recover. Depending on where and when you had surgery, it is best not to exert the area and should rearrange yourself accordingly. If you have stitches or sutures in, it is best to avoid sexual intercourse until they are removed or dissolved due to the risk of them separating.
Chemo-Chemo can make you feel fatigued, so it is important not to exert yourself too much. Additionally, remember that chemo can remain in your system and cause your semen or vaginal fluids to be cytotoxic, so always wear a condom to protect your partner.
But this is not the case and does not need to be the case.
Sex can help improve mood, confidence and help you relax; all are which are needed when going through a cancer diagnosis, or cancer treatment. Mustering up some courage to discuss sex with a healthcare professional can feel awkward, but it may provide you with the reassurance you need, or give you the answer you require.
Although they may not be able to answer specific cancer-related sexual questions, psychologists and counsellors will be able to provide advice regarding sex and confidence. They’re also very approachable and provide safe environments to talk. Being associated with a larger hospital or group, they also will be able to inform you who to ask or seek the answer themselves for questions they cannot answer.