Intimacy issues

  • Spring 2019
  • Ask the experts

Last year I was successfully treated for an aggressive cancer that left me with only one breast and a lot less hair! Parting ways with my breast has definitely affected intimacy in the bedroom—I feel as though my partner is afraid to touch me and I, in turn, don’t really feel like being touched, so perhaps you can see how things are a bit of a struggle at the moment. Any advice?

Although it may not feel like it, I want to reassure you that the feelings and concerns you mention are normal, and we often hear from people who have similar experiences following treatment. Cancer can affect your sexuality and your ability to be intimate in both physical and emotional ways. Addressing any changes and challenges early on may help you and your partner to strengthen your relationship, improve communication and lead to new ways of expressing your emotions and the experience of being sexual or intimate with each other. Cancer Council offers a range of services to support people affected by cancer and their families. By calling our Information and Support line, 13 11 20, we can link you with professional counsellors who can work with you individually to address your concerns.

Answered by Katherine Lane

Head of Cancer Information and Support Services

Cancer Council Australia