Sexuality and advanced cancer

It is very difficult to predict accurately how advanced cancer and its treatment will affect your sexual relationships. For most people there are changes which require them to adapt and develop new ways of giving and receiving sexual pleasure. Advanced cancer does not mean your sexuality will be destroyed.

With clear communication, you may still enjoy a fulfilling sexual relationship.

“Sex is sometimes the only escape from a world of worry and misery, and to maintain a sense of normality.” Dr. Robert Buckman 1998

In many relationships one partner may be more interested in sex than the other. Advanced cancer can exaggerate this. Many people with cancer say that they feel washed out and almost completely without energy. This may be to do with the cancer itself, or sometimes the treatment. In this situation you might not want to bother to do anything at all about sex.

Discuss this with your treatment team or for more information, phone the Cancer Society on 0800 CANCER (226 237) and ask for the booklet Sexuality and Cancer/ Hōkakatanga me te Matepukupuku. This booklet is also available online.

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