Possible effects of secondary breast cancer on your sex life
It’s not unusual to find that cancer has an effect on your sex life.
Sexual difficulties can happen as a result of the physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment. You may feel too tired or anxious, and sex may be the last thing you feel like.
As you recover from treatment you may find that your sex drive gradually improves. If pain, menopausal symptoms, or other side effects are causing sexual difficulties then getting these controlled may help to improve things.
Advanced cancer doesn’t have to mean that sex is no longer a part of your life. You may find that it involves a period of re-adjustment for you and your partner. Even if you don’t feel like having sex there are intimate and affectionate ways of showing how much you care for your partner. Try talking openly about difficulties or concerns about your sex life with your partner. This can help to sort out any misunderstandings.
Partners may sometimes feel, mistakenly, that sex could harm you or make the cancer worse, or that they could catch the cancer.
Ask your doctor or nurse for advice if you’re having problems with your sex life. If you feel uncomfortable talking to them you can call our cancer support specialists.
Some people may find it helpful to talk to a sex therapist. You can contact a therapist through the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists.
Our section on sexuality and cancer has helpful information.
You will usually be advised not to use contraception that contains hormones (which may encourage the cancer to grow), such as the pill or the Mirena coil. Non-hormonal coils
(intra-uterine devices) or barrier contraception such as condoms or the cap are the most suitable. Your cancer specialist, breast care nurse or GP can give you advice.