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Intimate life and contraception during cancer treatment

Оncological Center TomoClinic>Our news and articles>Intimate life and contraception during cancer treatment

Once a cancer is detected, a person more than ever needs the closeness and support of beloved. However, the fight against the disease takes almost all the time. So the intimate life is less desirable, sexual desire is greatly reduced.
Some types of therapy have side effects and affect the ability to have sexual act, but you can always find a way out.

Differences between male and female sexuality

After being diagnosed with cancer, it is obvious that both men and women feel themselves less attractive. The type of cancers affect men and women in a different ways too. For example, the treatment of prostate cancer or colon cancer may bring impotence. Sexual dysfunction may occur as a result of decreased testosterone.
As for the women, treating pelvic cancer causes physical pain. There is some discomfort and dryness in the vagina during the sexual act. Patients also may have loss of sensitivity and lack of orgasm. Breast cancer has a very strong impact on women’s self-esteem.
Tumor type and features of treatment affect sexual function. Operations on the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, ovaries, prostate, testes, rectum, large intestine) and removal of the mammary glands affect sexual function very much. The following factors are influencing too:

  • Condition before surgery
  • Overall health
  • Age
  • Tumor size and localization
  • The amount of tissue removed

Chemotherapy also has many side effects (nausea, vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, hair loss). Patients may have increasing anxiety and depression, which are taking away their strength, reducing self-esteem and sex drive.

Contraception in cancer

Contraception plays an extremely important role during treatment and at least for another six months after its end. Although radiation and chemotherapy significantly reduce the likelihood of conception, they do not completely eliminate it. Different methods of diagnosis can determine the fertility of women after treatment. But prevention does not lose its value even with the lowest rates.

Take into account the type of tumor and treatment while choosing the contraception method. The most contraindications are hormonal drugs or oral contraceptives. They are contraindicated in the treatment of breast cancer as they can worsen the disease.
Their use is undesirable for most patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The reason for this is the increased risk of thrombotic complications. Oral contraceptives can significantly increase the likelihood of blood clots, especially in the lower extremity vessels.

The use of intrauterine helixes can be dangerous for patients with reduced immunity through chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Spirals can lead to infectious complications. Consultation with a doctor is required.

But women with anemia may use oral contraceptives, because they help to reduce blood loss during menstruation. Such contraception is acceptable in the absence of the contraindications mentioned above.
In some cases cancer patients are advised to have a hormonal spiral. They are highly efficient. Hormonal spirals have no side effects, since hormones do not enter the bloodstream (unlike hormonal pills).

The question of optimal prevention for women with cancer remains largely open. But in all cases there are no contraindications for traditional condom contraception.