Cancer’s Impact on Sexual Health and Intimacy

Guest post by Dr. Don S. Dizon

Cancer has a way of changing one’s entire life- physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Whether one has undergone primary treatment or continues in active therapy, life “post-cancer” is never the same as it was prior to the diagnosis. One area identified by women treated for cancer is how it has impacted their intimate relationships. Indeed, the impact on sexual health and intimacy is significant, and has been consistently born out in multiple studies.

Despite this, help is hard to come by. For patients, there is an embarrassment about bringing up such issues, or confronting a sense of being “lucky to just be alive”. It is as if sexual health is a reasonable “sacrifice” for life. For providers, it is discomfort in confronting sexual health, partly because we are unsure of what we will hear and unable to respond in helpful ways.

Yet, there is a better way, and it begins with a dialogue- a dialogue between women with breast cancers, with their clinicians, and education. There should be no choice between life and sexual health. One can indeed have it all.

Join us on Monday 2/16/15 at 9pm ET when we discuss cancer’s impact on sexual health and intimacy during the #BCSM tweet chat.

Due to the sensitive nature of the topic and understanding that many may have questions they are not comfortable asking in public, we’d like to hear from you now! Send your questions, comments and concerns via DM (that’s direct message, for those on twitter) to either @drdonsdizon or @DrAttai  – if we’re not following you, tag and ask one of us to “follow for DM”. If you prefer you may send an email to info@DrAttai.com – this email is monitored by me, not my office staff. No one will be identified unless you want to be – all comments and questions will be kept strictly confidential and we will try to address as many questions as possible during the chat.

2/16/15 Tweet Chat Transcript


Cancer.Net Sexual and Reproductive Health
Dr. Don Dizon – Sexual Health in Women Treated For Cancer
SexualMed.org – Cancer Therapy
LBBC Guide to Understanding Intimacy and Sexuality
WebMD Breast Cancer: Sex and Intimacy
American Cancer Society: Sexuality after Breast Cancer
BreastCancer.Org Sex and Intimacy

Don S. Dizon MD, FACP
Clinical Co-Director, Gynecologic Oncology
Director, The Oncology Sexual Health Clinic
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
ASCO Connection Column
Twitter: @drdonsdizon