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Sexuality and Reproductive Issues (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI] - Assessing Sexual Function in Cancer Patients

Your doctor will talk with you to find out what may be causing your sexual problems and how these problems affect your life.

As part of the assessment, your doctor will talk with you alone or with both you and your partner. You may be asked the following questions:

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  • Do you have any problems or concerns related to sexuality?
  • How often do you feel a desire to have sex?
  • Do you enjoy sex?
  • Do you have enough energy for sex?
  • Do you become sexually aroused (for men, are you able to get and keep an erection, or for women, does your vagina expand and become lubricated)?
  • Are you able to reach orgasm during sex? What types of stimulation can cause an orgasm (for example, self-touch, use of a vibrator, shower massage, partner caressing, oral stimulation, or intercourse)?
  • Do you have pain during sex? Where do you feel the pain? What does the pain feel like? What kinds of sexual activity cause pain? Does this cause pain every time? How long does the pain last?
  • When did your sexual problems begin? Was it around the same time that you were diagnosed with cancer or had cancer treatment? Did you have sexual problems before you were diagnosed with cancer?
  • Are you taking any medicines? Did you start taking any new medicines or did the doctor change the dose of any medicines around the time that your sexual problems started?

Your doctor may ask questions about your relationship with your partner.

You may be asked the following questions if you have a partner:

  • How long were you with your partner before you were diagnosed with cancer?
  • How stable was your relationship?
  • How did your partner react when you were diagnosed with cancer?
  • Are you concerned about how your partner may be affected by your treatment?

You and your partner may have sexual problems and concerns and fears about your relationship. It is important that you and your partner talk about these things with a doctor you feel comfortable with.

Your doctor may also ask you about your lifestyle.

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