Is having oral sex during chemotherapy treatment safe?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Is having oral sex during chemotherapy treatment safe?

Expert Answer

Bruce A. Feinberg, MD, chief of the Georgia Cancer Specialists, is an oncologist and the author of Breast Cancer Answers and Colon Cancer Answers and a popular speaker on cancer-related topics.

Yes, it is safe for a woman to have oral sex with a man who is undergoing chemotherapy. The cancer itself is not contagious. In general, the drugs that are used during chemotherapy are not excreted in semen in quantities that could be dangerous for the woman. Some chemotherapy drugs, however, can be present in very small quantities in semen in the days just after chemo, so if you notice anything or feel concerned, you might want to use a condom during the 48 hours just after treatment. This may not seem like the easiest question to raise with your doctor, but if you ask, the doctor can give you more specific information about the particular chemotherapy drugs prescribed and whether they are excreted in semen.