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Your sex life

Treatment for laryngeal cancer can change the way you feel about sex. But there are some ways to cope.

A laryngectomy changes the way you speak, breathe and your physical appearance. These changes can make you feel less confident about sex. It can also change the way you feel about yourself and how you think others see you. Try talking to your partner about this. 

Talking things through with your partner might help you both adjust to a new situation together. Things might feel a little less awkward. 

Covering your stoma might also help you to feel less aware of it.


Some people's partners worry that they can catch cancer from others by kissing. But cancer can't be caught from somebody else. So you can reassure them. 

It is safe for you and your partner to kiss and have any type of physical contact that you feel comfortable with. 

How you might feel

Cancer can cause many different emotions such as fear and anger. 

These emotions might affect how you feel about sex. Your partner might also feel very strong emotions. 

It is very common to have difficulty with intimacy and sex after cancer treatment. You can consider:

  • talking things through with your partner 
  • talking to your doctor or specialist nurse
  • getting your GP to refer you to a counsellor 


Speech or communication difficulties can affect how you feel about sex. It might feel like it's a lot of effort and it might change some of the spontaneous moments that you and your partner are used to. 

Eye contact and touch might be alternative ways to show feelings if speech is difficult. 

Sex and cancer

You can read more about how cancer can affect your sex life in our section about sex and cancer.

Last reviewed: 
30 Jul 2015
  • The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures

    L. Dougherty and S. Lister, 9th edition, 2015

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