Women can be affected in many different ways after their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The effects can be both physical and emotional. Around half of all women who have breast cancer will experience some changes in how they feel sexually or in their sex life. These can occur in the weeks and months after treatment or years later.
Talking about sex and sexuality with a partner or close friend can be difficult, let alone someone involved in your treatment. It may be the first time you’ve really thought about the issue or you may be from a background or culture in which sex and sexuality are rarely discussed.
People can experience both physical and emotional effects after their diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. Some will experience changes in how they feel sexually. These changes can occur weeks or months and even years after treatment is finished.
Not everyone will experience problems. Some will find their sex lives improve because they’re in a situation that makes them really think about their sexuality. And some feel closer to their partners because of their experience of cancer.
Your sexuality is unique to you, and involves how you feel about yourself both physically and emotionally. How you see yourself sexually is influenced by your background, past experiences and cultural or religious beliefs.
Sexuality can also be about sexual preference – for example, whether you see yourself as gay, straight or bi-sexual. Everyone is different and there’s no right or wrong way to feel about sex and your sexuality.