Sexual health and fertility resources for cancer patients
Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager Emeritus, Oncology, Social Work
DECEMBER 03, 2019
This information is not written or provided as a treatment guideline, but rather suggestions for your sexual health. Please consult with your health care professional if you have concerns or questions. This is not a complete list, however, this list is a good place to start your search.
Adequate lubrication is an important part of positive sexual interaction. Below are listed lubrications that are widely available in pharmacies over the counter. This does not attempt to be a complete list and lubrications are not contraceptives.
- Albolene: This is not sold as a lubricant, it's actually a makeup remover. It is made up of petrolatum, mineral oil, ceresin, and paraffin. This is oil-based, so do not use with latex condoms. Can also be used as a massage agent.
- Canola Oil (yes, the kind you buy at the supermarket)
- K-Y Personal Lubricants
- Replens Gel
- Replens: Inserted by applicator.
- Lubrin: A suppository (good for women post radiation). Most post-menopausal women find this is a helpful lubricant because it lasts longer.
- Femigel: Natural product from tea trees. For vaginal dryness.
- Sylk: Natural product from kiwi fruit vine and purified water.
- Wet: Often only found in adult erotica stores. Very little residue and is not as sticky as some.
- Vitamin E Oil: Available in health food stores. Get as oil and make sure it is only vitamin E for no irritation. Long lasting.
Vaseline and other petroleum-based gels are not recommended because they are not water-soluble. They also weaken latex and can cause condom tears.
Vaginal Dilators and Periometers:
Ask your doctor for a referral to a local physical therapist or gynecologist who specializes in women's health.
Adult Sexual Health Stores
308A Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446
Websites and Blogs
Sexuality and Fertility
- Cancer Treatment and Female Sexual Health Issues
- Female Fertility Issues and Cancer
- Male Fertility Issues and Cancer
- Cancer and Fertility Needs of the LGBT Community
- Ulman Foundation (for young adults with cancer)
- LiveStrong Foundation (for young adults with cancer)
- Becoming a Parent after Cancer
- Planned Parenthood
- Finding a Sex Therapist
Enhancement Aids and Information
There are many books that may be helpful. Here are a few favorites:
- Sex and Cancer: Intimacy, Romance, and Love after Diagnosis and Treatment, Saketh R. Guntapalli, MD and MaryAnn Karirch
- Prostate Cancer and the Man You Love, Ann Katz, Ph.D.
- Intimacy after Breast Cancer: Dealing with your Body, Relationships, and Sex, Gina M. Maisano
- Sexuality and Fertility after Cancer, Leslie R. Schover
Do you have other suggestions? Join the BIDMC Cancer Community and share your story.