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Sexual Health and Cancer

Sex is one of life’s most pleasurable experiences, not to mention it’s good for you, your partner, your mind, and your health. If you are being treated for cancer or have been treated for cancer and experiencing challenges attaining enjoyable sex following cancer surgery or treatment, you don’t have to deal with these difficulties alone. Our team of trained professionals specialize in male and female sexual health. We may be able to help you achieve satisfying, enjoyable sex.

When is a sexual health assessment needed?

We built our Sexual Health and Healing program around your needs and goals. At Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, we know life-saving cancer treatment may change a lot of things in your body. Hormonal imbalance can occur as well as physical changes that cause challenges with sexuality and intimacy, such as sex after a mastectomy and prostate cancer. If you are experiencing any of the following conditions, please schedule an assessment:

  • Pain during sex
  • Penile curvature
  • Low testosterone
  • Changes in orgasm
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Difficulties with premature ejaculation
  • Trouble having sex after cancer surgery
  • Unable to control your bladder or bowels
  • Vaginal dryness, tightness, burning, scarring
  • Low libido, inability to be aroused, absent or no sexual interest
  • Anxiety or depression around sex, i.e., body shame, emotional pain such as anxiety, depression, poor body image, or low self-image related to sex

What to expect

Our interdisciplinary care team provides comprehensive, compassionate care coordination, guidance, education, and ongoing follow-up care throughout your entire journey. The Sexual Health and Healing program at the Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s may be able to help you return to sexual intimacy following cancer-related surgery, radiation or treatment with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. If you are undergoing treatment or have completed treatment for ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer or bladder cancer, rectal cancer, or other cancers and experiencing challenges with sexual intimacy, we may be able to help.

Here's what to expect: 

  • Comprehensive sexual health assessment
  • Physical exam to assess sexual function and dysfunction
  • Education and awareness about sexual health function, dysfunction, desire and how it intersects with cancer treatment including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, cancer surgery and radiation therapy
  • Supportive care and services including physical therapy and social work

Never feel embarrassed or worried about talking to us about your sexual health. Let us be your trusted health care partner.

Types of sexual health services

Our team provides a full complement of services for cancer patients who are in treatment or have completed treatment. From your initial assessment, to therapy and treatment, we make your experience as convenient and private as possible. Our goal is to get you closer to the intimate, enjoyable sex you desire. Some of our services include:

  • Surgical interventions, including excision of vaginal cuff, penile implant, pelvic
    floor muscle injections and nerve blocks
  • Hormone replacement and non-hormonal therapy
  • Rehabilitation support including pelvic floor physical therapy
  • Sexual health education, relaxation and support
  • Penile low-intensity shockwave therapy
  • Penile erection therapy

Multidisciplinary Approach to Cancer Care

Patients of Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s know they are receiving precision medicine from a multidisciplinary team of experienced cancer experts.