Cancer, Intimacy, and Sex

Cancer and its treatment may affect how you feel about sex. People with cancer may:

  • Have scars or other body changes from things like cancer surgery or weight change that may make them feel less desirable
  • Have nausea or vomiting that interfere with sexual desire
  • Be too weak or too tired for sex

Treatment side effects can also interfere with sex. These may result in a lessened desire for intimacy or changes to overall mood. Another possible side effect is erectile dysfunction in men, while women may have pain or dryness during sex.

For more information and tips for coping with body changes before and after cancer treatment, changes in your sex life, and dating, visit, the website of the National Cancer Institute. Note that this article is general and not specific to people with pancreatic cancer.

Read more at This link is to a third-party website.

Managing Sexual Problems

Although it can be hard to talk about sex, it’s important to tell your partner how you feel. Talk with your doctor or nurse, too. They may be able to help you manage the issues causing your sexual problems or refer you to a counselor who can help talk through the issues in your sex life.

Sex and intimacy are important to your well-being. Talk with your doctor if you or your partner are having any of the problems listed below:

  • Less or no interest in sex
  • Unable to enjoy sex
  • Discomfort or pain during sex (vaginal dryness)
  • Erectile dysfunction

Asking a question may make it easier to talk with your doctor or nurse.

Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Is it safe to have sex based on the medicines I am taking?
  • Can cancer cause sexual problems?
  • Will my treatments or their side effects cause sexual problems?