Talking to your medical team about sex and fertility
During or after treatment, you may worry about whether the cancer and its treatment will affect your relationships, sex life or fertility (ability to have children). It can be helpful to know where to get information to help you.
Finding out you have cancer is a frightening experience. You might feel shock, disbelief or several other strong emotions. These are all natural reactions. After the diagnosis it can sometimes feel like events move quickly. Your cancer specialist or specialist nurse will want to talk to you about treatment options and their possible side effects. You’ll need some time to adjust to the changes in your life and to talk to your family and friends about what’s happening to you.
Cancer and its treatments can have an effect on your sexuality, your ability to enjoy sex or your ability to have children (your fertility). Someone from your medical team should discuss this with you. But you can always bring this subject up yourself whenever you feel ready to. It’s important to talk about these issues with your team, before you start treatment if possible.
It can be helpful to know where you can get information about sex, relationships and fertility. You could start by asking your medical team, or you may prefer to talk to a support organisation or our cancer support specialists. Whoever you speak to, remember that even if they don’t know the answer straight away, they will usually know someone who does.
Getting information may not be enough by itself. It can also be helpful to talk through your feelings with someone trained to help you work out ways of coping. They can also help you find ways of dealing with the impact of cancer on you and your relationships. We have more information about talking about difficult subjects.
If cancer or its treatment has affected your fertility
Certain kinds of cancer and cancer treatment can have an impact on fertility. If this applies to you then over time, perhaps when the cancer treatment has finished, you may find yourself having to make a lot of decisions, such as:
whether to get your fertility checked
whether to go for fertility treatment
what sort of fertility treatments to have
whether or not to stop fertility treatment.
Again, having discussions with staff trained to help with decision-making can be useful. You could talk to staff at the hospital where you had your treatment, or to one of our cancer support specialists.