Nov. 10, 2022
Encouraging sexual health recovery after cancer treatment
Click for an infographic about sexual health concerns for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Many cancers and their associated treatments can impact a patient's sexual health. Often, the patient and the care team are focused primarily on treating the cancer, so sexual health questions and concerns are more likely to come up later. Providing patients with appropriate consultation and resources for concerns regarding sexual health after cancer treatment is an important part of providing survivorship services.
Sexual side effects can occur for patients of all genders and body types. For example, cancer in the chest or pelvic area, chemotherapy and radiation, and the emotional toll of a cancer diagnosis can all play a role in a patient's sexual health upon completion of treatment.
Jennifer A. Vencill, Ph.D., is a psychologist and certified sex therapist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She explains that cancer treatment can impact all aspects of a patient's sexual health, from desire and arousal to climax and overall satisfaction.
"We can see both immediate impacts and cascade effects when it comes to sexual health," says Dr. Vencill. "Care providers at all points of a patient's journey with cancer must be prepared to have conversations about sexual health and provide appropriate resources to meet our patients' needs."
See the infographic Sexual Health After Cancer Treatment for more insight from Dr. Vencill about supporting patients on their journeys toward sexual health.
For more information
O'Hara J. Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Sexual health after cancer treatment. Mayo Clinic.
Refer a patient to Mayo Clinic.