Surviving Cancer

Frequently Asked Questions

22. What can I do about problems with intimacy?

For many older adults, intimacy remains an important need. Cancer and cancer treatment can have a major impact on intimacy and sexual functions for both men and women. Problems are often caused by physical changes, such as erectile dysfunction or incontinence which can occur after prostate surgery. Other problems are caused by emotional issues like changes in body image because of scarring or the loss of a breast. Loss of interest in or desire for intimacy can occur and be particularly troublesome.

Often, sexual problems will not get better on their own, so it is important to talk with your doctor. He or she can suggest a treatment depending on the type of problem and its cause. A variety of interventions, such as medications, devices, surgery, exercises to strengthen genital muscles, or counseling can help.

Learn more about treating problems with intimacy after cancer.