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This post is a part of the weeklong #LiveBrave series in celebration of Survivors Week

A colon cancer diagnosis can affect many areas of your life—some you may feel more comfortable discussing than others. One often taboo, but important, topic is sexuality, which many survivors identify as an under-addressed area.

You may find yourself trying to wrap your head around multiple sexual issues, such as fertility questions, communicating with your partner and loss of desire after a diagnosis. In fact, sexual dysfunction is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment. While it can be tough, it’s important to remember you’re not alone.

Sex After Colon Cancer

Survivors may experience a range of intimacy issues depending on the type of treatment. For example, men may experience periods of low testosterone after chemotherapy or erection problems and a reduced sperm count after radiation to the pelvic area, while some women may experience sudden menopause after chemotherapy or have their ovaries removed during surgery to remove their rectum. Not to mention personal concerns about your ostomy during sex.

While this may sound daunting, there are many options and helpful resources available for patients and survivors! Take a look at our Top Tips to get you started:

  1. Don’t be afraid to discuss sex with your doctor or nurse, especially after surgery and ending treatment.
  2. You can also discuss fertility preservation with your doctor, even if they do not mention it to you initially, as this may affect your treatment plan.
  3. Chemotherapy stays in your body for a while after treatment, so be sure to exercise caution regarding sexual activities. 
  4. Have open and honest communication with your sexual and/or romantic partner about your life as a survivor.
  5. Visit the United Ostomy Association for questions or concerns about sexual intimacy and ostomies.

Need Someone To Talk To?

While sexuality can be a sensitive topic, you always have a safe space to speak to others who know what you’re going through. Whether you want to talk to other survivors in our Blue Hope Nation and Colontown communities, you feel more comfortable speaking to a few people in our online chats or you’d just like to have a one-on-one conversation with a Certified Patient Support Navigator, we have your back.

How comfortable do you feel discussing issues related to sex with your doctor or partner?

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