It’ OK to not be OK with these effects. You may need more time to adapt and
accommodate to them.
Ask for advice and more information from your Clinical Nurse Specialist, hospital doctor or GP. They may not be aware of the impact of these effects, but might have some helpful advice and suggestions if you talk about your concerns.
As time goes on, you might feel that more specific information or advice would be helpful. Specific cancers or treatments have particular effects to adjust to, and patient support groups can help reduce the feeling of isolation that comes with living with these effects. Organisations and group members often give excellent tips about how to adjust to some of the effects, and we recommend the groups listed below. However, it may not always be helpful to use patient chat-rooms which can be found on social media: these can often contain poor or inaccurate information.
These lists are not yet complete, and we will be updating this section in the future to include information about more cancer sites and effects.
These websites are devoted to helping people find strategies to manage pain in everyday life:
Psychological interventions may help to address confidence and adjustment to changed appearance.
These organisations and websites are devoted to helping people find strategies to adjust to changed appearance:
You may find it difficult to talk to anyone in the medical or nursing team about sexual problems after cancer, but staff are aware that these difficulties occur, and are often able to given straightforward advice or treatment.
If your doctor or clinical nurse specialist doesn’t ask you about this directly, don’t feel embarrassed about bringing the subject up and asking for help.
A number of physical effects of any cancer and treatment can directly affect sexual activity for anyone, including:
Additionally, some cancers have very direct effects on sexual activity:
Many people experience a disturbance in bowel function during pelvic radiotherapy, such as diarrhoea and/or constipation. These symptoms usually settle following the end of treatment, but for some people the effects can be longer lasting.
These symptoms can affect people’s lives in many ways. Help and advice is available and the following organisations can help point you in the right direction:
As time goes on, if you feel you are still struggling, you may need more specialised help to enable this adjustment process.
The advice on these pages is designed to help you prepare for the treatment ahead and support you through to recovery.
If you need further advice and support please discuss this with your key worker or healthcare professional.