Sex life after treatment for DCIS

Cancer and its treatments can sometimes affect your sex life.

About DCIS and your sex life

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and its treatments may affect your sex life and your feelings about yourself as a woman.

Difficulties often slowly improve after treatment, but for some women it may take longer. You may feel insecure and worry about your current or future relationships.

If you have a partner, you may feel insecure about whether they will still find you sexually attractive. It can help to try to talk about it with them. You may both need some time to adjust.

Let your doctor or nurse know if any difficulties with your sex life do not improve. They may be able to reassure you or offer further help and support. If you feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor or nurse, you can call us on 0808 808 00 00.

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.

Contraception

Your cancer doctor or breast care nurse will advise you not to use contraception that contains hormones. This includes the pill or coils (intra-uterine devices) that release hormones.

Your GP can give you advice about methods of contraception. Coils that do not contain hormones, or barrier methods such as condoms, a diaphragm or cap, are usually the most suitable.

Menopausal symptoms

Some treatments for DCIS may cause menopausal symptoms. Doctors do not recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is because it contains oestrogen, which could encourage breast cancer cells to grow. There are other ways of managing menopausal symptoms that may help.

Some cancer doctors may occasionally prescribe HRT for severe menopausal symptoms when nothing else has helped. You will need to talk about this with your cancer doctor so you know the possible benefits and risks.

Support from Macmillan

Macmillan is also here to support you. If you would like to talk, you can do the following: