Cancer and Man's Sexuality
It is common knowledge that the human body is composed of millions and millions of cells. These cells repair and reproduce themselves. They live, divide, and eventually die. Sometime, however, the process of cell reproduction becomes out of control. This abnormality results in a growth or a tumor.
There are two types of tumors. One can either be benign or malignant. A benign tumor is nothing to worry about because it is practically harmless. A malignant tumor, on the other hand, is highly injurious. Cancer cells are very prolific and often cause and obstruction in many passageways of the body.
There are several types of cancer, and each requires its own unique treatment plan. Some types of cancer occur more often among men than in women. These include throat cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is especially problematic because it affects a man's sexuality, among others. It is the most common type of cancer among men. Prostate cancer may lead to erectile dysfunction and render a man impotent. This decreases the ability of a male to be sexually receptive. It affects a man's capability to perform common sexual activities that he finds enjoyable.
Understanding the Connection
A man's sexuality will generally experience some changes that can be directly linked with the cancer and the treatment he is getting for the condition. Here are some of these sexual changes and effects a man will go through:
- Men and women alike will lose interest in sex during the "cancer period" that should include the treatment phase. It's normal that the concern for survival is greater than sex. The loss of desire will also be brought about by treatment effects such as depression, fatigue, pain, nausea, and worry. However, while some men may lose all the desire for sex during the duration of the cancer treatment, there are others who will still desire sex, ejaculate, but not achieve an erection.
- Erectile dysfunction or impotence becomes more common as a man gets older and if they have other health problems like vascular problems, diabetes, and stroke. Cancer and cancer treatments can also cause changes in a man's capacity to achieve erection when they cause damages in a man's hormonal balance, pelvic blood vessels, and pelvic nerves. Some of these side effects cannot be avoided when the major concern is controlling the cancer. Also, anxiety and other similar thoughts may affect a man's ability to get and achieve an erection.
- Men suffering from premature ejaculation have erection problems making them unable to delay orgasm so they ejaculate too quickly. Some anti-depressant medications have the side effect of delaying orgasm, and as such are sometimes used to help men with ejaculation problems. There are also creams that help by desensitizing the penis.
- Ejaculation will cause pain in men if their urethra or prostate gland has been irritated from cancer or the treatment. The same holds true in cases where scar tissues form in the pelvis or abdomen after surgery. Medications, injections, and surgery can be done to deal with this problem.
What You Can Do About It
The following are some helpful tips men can keep in mind to help them with their sexuality during or after cancer and treatment:
- Talk to your doctor and the rest of your health care team so you would learn as much as you can about the effects of cancer and its treatment.
- Remember that regardless of the cancer treatment that you will be getting you will not lose the ability to find pleasure from touching. Other than those affecting some areas of the brain or the spinal cord, there are only a few cancer treatments that will damage the muscles and nerves that are involved in one's finding pleasure from touching and reaching orgasm. And while there are cancer treatments that may damage a man's capacity to get and achieve an erection, these men will still have the feeling of achieving and orgasm when stimulated with the right kind of caressing and touching. That's why even if some aspects of a man's sexuality have already changed, pleasure and satisfaction are still possible.
- Try to be open about other ideas on sexual pleasure. Let the period of suffering from cancer or getting the treatment be your chance of learning new ways to give and receive sexual satisfaction. You can always teach and learn from your parent on how to reach orgasm with simply stroking and touching. Some couples find cuddling just as pleasurable as reaching orgasm.
- Make sure to have open, clear, and two-way conversations about sex with your partner as well as your doctor. Never be too embarrassed to ask or inquire about anything that you are experiencing during the cancer treatment period. You will definitely get a lot of help when you keep in mind that good communication is your key being able to effectively adjust your sexual routine despite the changes that cancer may bring upon your body.
- Never lose confidence in yourself. Do not give in to the negative effects of cancer and its treatment. When you're starting to lose your hair, have fun choosing various headwear to make you still look beautiful. Eat right and exercise regularly. Keep yourself busy with your hobbies and interests. Fight off depression and anxiety with the help of your partner, a friend, or your doctor.