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Colorectal Cancer: In Treatment: Day To Day Living

Tips About Intimacy And Sex

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You can have sex during treatment, though you may not feel like it. 

  • In addition to the normal fatigue and lack of interest that may be caused by your treatment, your body and self image have likely been altered due to colorectal cancer. Physical changes can affect how others react to you, which can affect your body image. Not everyone knows how to react ot people who have had cancer or who have physical changes from cancer or its treatment. Some people will react negatively, and that can cause hurt feelings and discomfort. Having a strong, positive body image may help you worry less about how other people react to your physical appearance. For tips about coping with a changing body image, see “To Learn More.”
  • If you are undergoing radiation or surgery, avoid contact with sensitive areas.
  • If you have an ostomy, click here for tips about having sex. 

Let your spouse or partner know how your feel. Ask your partner to do the same. If it is hard to talk to each other about sex or cancer, or both, consider talking with a counselor who can help the two of you communicate more openly. 

A partner's concerns or fears also can affect the sexual relationship. You and your partner can get information by talking about sexual concerns with your doctor, nurse, or a counselor who can provide information and the reassurance you and/or your partner may need.

Other forms of intimacy, such as cuddling, are a good substitute during this period of time.

Even if you are not interested in sex, it couldn’t hurt to let the other person know you still find him or her sexy.

For additional tips, see “To Learn More.”

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