This is an excerpt of a blog published on Evidently Cochrane.
In this blog, Bridget Candy & Louise Jones, authors of a Cochrane review on sexual problems in women after cancer treatment, discuss why this matters, what might help, and what we need to know about treatments.
In a relationship? Not interested at the moment? Looking for someone? Gay or straight? Whoever we are, and at whatever stage in our personal lives, we need to feel comfortable with our bodies, accepted by ourselves and by others, and our attitudes to our sexuality and sexual lives are very important. Sex impacts on our zest for life, how we view ourselves and our relationships.
One in three of us will receive a diagnosis of cancer at some time in our lives. It often presents numerous challenges. Not only does our mortality come into sharper focus, but we may also begin to question our core values, our relationships and our sense of who we are. Dealing with the cancer often involves invasive, sometimes mutilating and often prolonged treatments and side effects. Many of us go on to survive cancer but there may be long term impacts on our bodies. It is no wonder that sexual matters can come into this maelstrom of changes. However, in illness sex is often side-lined, regarded as a luxury in the face of life threatening events, and rarely considered or mentioned by professionals in charge of our care. Our partners too may be confused and unsure how to help.