Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, surgery, and radiation may have short-term or long-term effects on fertility and sexual health. People diagnosed with and treated for all types of cancer often have questions about physical changes, emotional effects that impact intimacy, body image concerns, and fertility preservation.
Patients and their loved ones are encouraged to discuss these important topics with their health care team early in the diagnosis and treatment planning process. Knowing what to expect can help the patient and their loved ones prepare for and manage any issues. Read our Cancer and Fertility brochure for more information.
Sexuality is an important part of life. It affects how we feel about ourselves and our relationships with others. Cancer and its treatments sometimes cause side effects that make it difficult to have or enjoy sexual intimacy.
Patients should talk openly with their partner and health care team about sexual expectations, concerns, or any issues affecting sexual health. Learn more from our Sexuality: Managing Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects website and Sexual Health Counseling factsheet.
The staff at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and the Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine help patients find solutions to fertility concerns related to a cancer diagnosis and treatments.
Here are some helpful questions patients can ask their health care team:
- What are my fertility preservation options?
- How much time do I have to preserve my fertility before starting treatment?
- How will I know if I am fertile after treatment?
- How do I know when it is safe to try to conceive after treatment?
- Will there be any health risks to me or my children?
It is important for patients to discuss these questions with their health care team as early as possible. A patient may develop temporary or even permanent infertility as a result of cancer treatments. A patient's risk of cancer-related infertility depends on his or her age and treatment details such as the following:
- Dose and frequency of certain chemotherapy or hormone-blocking drugs
- Radiation to the pelvic area
- Surgery to remove all or part of the reproductive system (such as the uterus, ovaries, or testicles)
For More Information
These services can help you find more information and resources about cancer, fertility, and sexual health:
If you have questions about any of the services or topics mentioned above, please contact the Wellness-Survivorship Center at 801-587-4585.