- Cancer, sex, and sexuality
- How the male body works sexually
- How pelvic surgery to treat cancer can affect erections
- How pelvic radiation therapy can affect erections
- How chemotherapy can affect erections
- The psychological effects of cancer treatment on erections
- How cancer treatment can affect ejaculation
- How cancer treatment can affect fertility
- How cancer treatment can affect sexual desire and response
- How cancer treatments can affect sexuality and fertility
- Dealing with sexual problems
- What treatments are available to help with erections?
- When is sexual counseling helpful?
- Can testosterone restore sexual functioning?
- What about herbs or natural cures for erection problems?
- Is there a way to make orgasms as intense as they used to be?
- Special concerns linked to certain cancers and their treatment
- Feeling good about yourself and feeling good about sex
- Chemotherapy also changes the way you look
- Overcoming depression
- Dealing with grief and loss
- Good communication: The key to building a successful sexual relationship
- Overcoming anxiety about sex
- Rekindling sexual interest
- Sexual activity with your partner
- Keeping your sex life going despite cancer treatment
- The single man and cancer
- Men who have sex with men
- Frequently asked questions
- Professional help
- American Cancer Society programs
- To learn more
Staying active is a good way to reduce stress and your risk of depression. Talk to your doctor about the kinds of exercise that are right for you. As long as you don’t overdo it, exercise can help you feel better and have more energy during and after treatment. You can also reduce the pain and nausea that some cancer treatments cause by learning skills to help you relax. Many relaxation methods can be learned from DVDs, videos, CDs, or books, but training by a mental health professional often works best.
If depression lasts more than a couple of weeks, talk to your doctor. What doctors call clinical depression has a number of symptoms. These include:
- Lack of interest in sex or other things that usually give you pleasure
- Being unable to feel pleasure at all
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in eating habits (don’t count those that are due to chemo or cancer treatment)
- Fatigue or tiredness (don’t count tiredness from your cancer treatment)
- Trouble focusing your thoughts
- Feeling worthless and hopeless
Depression can be treated with medicine and sometimes other methods that may improve your sleep, appetite, energy, and ability to feel pleasure. In turn, this can help your self-esteem and desire for sex. Talk with your doctor if you think you might be depressed.
Keep in mind that some of the newer anti-depressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may cause trouble reaching orgasm. There are measures that can be taken to improve this possible side effect. If this is something that’s a problem for you, talk to your doctor about it. There are other anti-depressants that may not have that effect on you.
Last Medical Review: 08/19/2013
Last Revised: 08/19/2013