Submitted by: Marc Gittelman
Submitted on: Oct. 9, 2007
Q: My wife is only 40 and her sexuality hasn’t been he same since she was ill two years ago. She underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant but her physicians say she is totally cured now. Will her sexuality return?
A: Sexual health can be significantly affected physically and emotionally after enduring the trauma of chemotherapy. A study was just released evaluating men and women who have undergone chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. The results showed both men and women had decreased sexual activity six months after their treatment. But by one year after recovery, sexual activity for men had recovered to 74 percent of the pre-treatment levels they had before their disease. For women, the recovery of sexual activity was slower, and at two years after treatment the level of sexual activity was 55 percent of their pretreatment levels. For those who were sexually active five years after chemotherapy, 46 percent of men and 80 percent of women said they still had problems that disrupted their sexual function in some way.
Physicians may sometimes be so busy treating disease that they forget to focus on issues such as sexuality. In my practice, I find that for many patients one of their first questions after a procedure is when can they safely resume sex.