Sexual function 

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Cancer and its treatments can sometimes have a profound affect on libido and sexual function which in males is most often erectile dysfunction and women vaginal dryness or soreness.


The most common causes of sexual dysfunction include:

In men:

In women:

For both males and females psychological wellbeing is very important for a healthy sexual function. Depression, lack out esteem, guilt and anxiety all contribute to loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. If a man experiences loss of erection, he may worry that it will happen again. This can produce anxiety associated with performance and may lead to chronic problems during sex. If the cycle is inescapable, it can result in impotence.

How can I help:

 Medical intervention with lubricants and drugs such as viagra are certainly helpful and your specialist team should help with this issue. Various lifestyle interventions may also help particularly for erectile dysfunction (ED). The penis is very sensitive to changes in oxygen and blood supply, in fact ED is often the first sign in men of hardened arteries and reports have shown in men, in general, ED precedes angina by two years unless intervention is not taken. Lifestyle intervention is aimed at improving the blood supply to the pelvis and the oxygen in the blood stream. 

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.

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