Skip to Content. Cancer treatment can cause physical and emotional changes, including to your sex life. Doctors call these types of changes "sexual side effects. Sexual side effects can be physical, mental, or emotional. Cancer treatment can affect your mood, body image, energy level, and sense of well-being. And all of these can affect your sex life.
Being tired or feeling sick from cancer or treatment can also affect your ability to enjoy sex.
Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly. But it can also harm healthy cells that divide quickly, such as those that line your mouth and intestines or cause your hair to grow. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects. Often, side effects get better or go away after chemotherapy is Missing: dating. A cancer diagnosis can often impact how you view dating and romantic relationships. Often, it can be difficult to adjust to the emotional and physical challenges that accompany a diagnosis. It is important to remember that it's normal to feel nervous about dating during or after cancer treatment. Here are a few helpful tips to use as a guide. Jul 10, Living Dating After Cancer: How Men and Women Navigate a New Reality Surgery and chemo leave survivors changed, which doesn't mean dating is off the table.
Talk with your doctor about these possible side effects before treatment starts. Learn more about managing sexual and reproductive side effects. Women might need a Pap test before starting chemotherapy. A Pap test gathers a sample of cells from the cervix.
Chemotherapy can cause misleading results on the test.
Oct 10, As I ventured into the world of chemotherapy, oncologist appointments and uncertainty about the future, I also unwittingly stepped into a new realm of dating and relationships-or, in some cases, the lack thereof. Here's what I learned from dating while going through cancer treatment. (Photo: Courtesy of Jana Champagne).
Chemotherapy can also harm an unborn baby, called a fetus. This is especially true in the first 3 months of pregnancy, when the organs are still developing. If you could get pregnant during treatment, use effective birth control.
If you do get pregnant, tell your doctor right away. Learn more about pregnancy and cancer. Appetite loss. You might eat less than usual, not feel hungry at all, or feel full after eating a small amount. If this lasts through treatment, you may lose weight and not get the nutrition you need. You may also lose muscle mass and strength. All these things make it harder to recover from chemotherapy.
Learn more about managing appetite loss.
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Hair loss. Some types of chemotherapy cause hair loss all over your body. It may come out a little at a time or in large clumps. Hair loss usually starts after the first several weeks of chemotherapy. It tends to increase 1 to 2 months into treatment. Your doctor can predict the risk of hair loss based on the drugs and doses you are receiving. Learn more about managing hair loss. Heart health. Some types of chemotherapy can affect your heart. It can help to check your heart before treatment.
This way, doctors can tell if treatment causes problems later.
One common test is an echocardiogram echo. This test uses ultrasound waves to create a moving picture of the heart.
Learn more about heart problems from cancer treatment. Long-term side effects.
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Most side effects go away after treatment. But some continue, come back, or develop later. For example, some types of chemotherapy may cause permanent damage to the heart, lung, liver, kidneys, or reproductive system. And some people have trouble with thinking, concentrating, and memory for months or years after treatment.
Nervous system changes can develop after treatment. Children who had chemotherapy may develop side effects that happen months or years after treatment. These are called late effects. Cancer survivors also have a higher risk of second cancers later in life.
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Getting care after treatment ends is important. Your health care team can help you treat long-term side effects and watch for late effects. This is called follow-up care.
Your follow-up care might include regular physical examinations, medical tests, or both.
ASCO has cancer treatment summary forms to help you keep track of the cancer treatment you received and develop a survivorship plan after treatment. What to Expect When Having Chemotherapy. Fear of Treatment-Related Side Effects. What is a Second Cancer? National Cancer Institute: Chemotherapy and You. These printable s provide an introduction to chemotherapy, answers to common questions, terms to know, and questions to ask the doctor.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
Side Effects of Chemotherapy Approved by the Cancer. Learn more about how men and women can cope with changes to their sexual health during and after treatment. Communication is important for healthy sexual feelings in any relationship. In particular, sharing cancer-related concerns can help relieve worries.
It can also help boost emotional intimacy and trust. There is no perfect time to talk about sex. But it is best to discuss it before becoming sexually intimate.
Practice saying sexual terms aloud, in advance. Most sex therapists recommend using medical terms. It is best to avoid slang or euphemisms.
Keep in mind that sexual intimacy involves more than intercourse. Experiment with other ways of giving and receiving sexual pleasure. Talking with a counselor or sex therapist.
There's usually no medical reason to stop having sex during chemo. The drugs won't have any long term physical effects on your performance or enjoyment of sex. Cancer can't be . During chemotherapy, fatigue or other side effects including effects on hormonal levels may decrease your interest in sex. If you're not interested in intercourse, remember that there's more to an intimate relationship than sex. Look for other ways to express affection, such as kissing, cuddling or other shared activities. Everyday life during chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can affect you physically and emotionally. Most people have ups and downs during treatment, but support is available. Some people find they can lead an almost normal life during chemotherapy. But others find everyday life more difficult.
These professionals help address problems with communication and intimacy. Joining a support group. These forums provide a safe place to share and learn from others with similar situations.
Chemotherapy and dating
Online Communities for Support. Dating and Intimacy Approved by the Cancer. Tips for pursuing new relationships Concerns about dating and sexual intimacy after cancer treatment are common. Consider these strategies when developing new relationships: Practice positive self-talk. For example, make a list of your positive qualities. Tell friends and family you are ready to meet potential dating partners.
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Despite how things all went down with my ex, I should really thank him for noticing my lump in the first place. We were spooning in bed when he knocked my breast and noticed a hard lump-which you could only see if I was lying on my back braless for my boobs to fall naturally to the side.
I thought at the time it may be a lymph node that was swollen or something. After things ended with Rob, I gave dating a shot. I got back on Bumble and set up some dates, but kept my new life ates off my profile. I felt like I could never be honest, or tell people what I actually did during the day.
I felt so unwanted. The worst thing about cancer is how LONG it takes. Abstinence is lonely. Safe, but very lonely. I was later also advised from my doctor to not consume soy, limit red meat to two servings per week, and drink no more than four drinks of alcohol per week, as these would all increase my risk of breast cancer recurrence.
But online dating without drinking is tough-how do you go on a first date without a sip of wine to relax? People speculate things, they never just drop it. When men would ask me out for a drink, I found myself wondering if I wanted to use up my precious beverage experience that week on a stranger, or if I wanted to save it for friends.
I was wearing a DIY mermaid costume with a green tight skirt, gathered at the hem to resemble a fin, a seashell bra, and to top it off, a very long, pastel pink wig-a fun escape from the brown wig I was wearing full-time.
While my friend was getting ready for the party, I chatted with her hot roommate, Ryan. I had just met him a few weeks before, and my friend had tipped me off that my feelings of attraction were mutual.
Ryan and I ended up making out, which led us to the bedroom. I managed to keep my secret safe, until I woke up in the middle of the night sweating my face off. I literally slept with no blanket, no sheets, trying to let the air cool me.
In the morning while we were making breakfast, Ryan had noticed the blue medical thermos bag that contained all of my post-chemotherapy shots to boost my immunity in the fridge.
Later that week, I ended up telling Ryan that I was going through chemotherapy and that the shots were to help rebuild my immune system so they could hit me every two weeks with a fresh bag of chemo. He was shocked, but still wanted to see me. On my first official date with Ryan, he drove three hours from Edmonton to Calgary to take me on a three-part date. He picked me up at my house and we went downtown to a Christmas craft show, sushi, and then a theatre play. He went all out.